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19 Feb, 2023 20:06

Chechen leader wants own private military company

Wagner Group’s fighting in Ukraine has shown once and for all that private companies are needed, Ramzan Kadyrov believes
Chechen leader wants own private military company

The head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has said he "seriously plans" to found a private military company (PMC) once he leaves state service, the official said in a Telegram post on Sunday. The successful actions in Ukraine of the Wagner Group, founded by Russian businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, confirms the need for PMCs, he added.

"A private military company has managed to achieve very impressive results," Kadyrov said in a post, referring to the group’s effective operations in Ukraine. "The PMC’s assault brigades also take upon themselves an extremely hard part of the work," he noted.

In January, Wagner Group fighters were instrumental in seizing the key Donbass town of Soledar amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry praised their "courageous and selfless actions" in the wake of the successful offensive. The PMC was also the first to claim control over the town ahead of the defense ministry’s confirmation.

According to Kadyrov, Chechen fighters are well aware of the Wagner Group’s capabilities. The Chechen Special Forces Unit ‘Akhmat’ has been fighting "side by side" with the private military company since the "early days" of Russia’s military operation, the leader said.

Earlier this week, the Wagner group founder, Evgeny Prigozhin, visited one of the ‘Akhmat’ commanders, Apti Alautdinov, in a hospital, earning praise from Kadyrov, who hailed the "thought Mr Prigozhin showed" for the injured officer.

"The Wagner [Group] has clearly proven its military effectiveness and brought all debates about the need for private military companies to closure," the Chechen leader said on Sunday, adding that "such professional entities are needed and necessary." He then said he plans to found such a company himself once he leaves his position with the Chechen government. He did not provide any specific timelines, though.

The Wagner Group is currently at the forefront of Russian efforts to capture Artyomovsk, a key Donbass crossroads city that has seen intense fighting for months and is now close to being encircled by Russian forces. The company’s past achievements also earned it wide international attention, with the US last month declaring it a "transnational criminal organization."