I was trolling the Americans – Chechen leader
The leader of Russia’s Republic of Chechnya has said US sanctions do not bother him or his family members, and that his proposal to release Ukrainian POWs in exchange for Washington dropping the restrictions on his relatives was just “trolling.”
During an address to members of the Chechen security forces in Grozny on Friday, Ramzan Kadyrov suggested that 20 Ukrainian troops, who were captured during the fighting in Donbass and are now being held in the republic, could be handed over to Kiev if the Americans “lift the sanctions against my mother, my daughters, innocent people and horses, except for me.”
Kadyrov later wrote a post on Telegram, claiming that “the lives of ordinary Ukrainians mean nothing to the US leaders.”
“They only care about their own interests, so I made that statement to reveal the true face of the American politicians,” he explained.
The Chechen leader said it was “obvious” that, despite his family having nothing to do with politics, the US authorities would not agree to his proposal, but “it’s interesting to hear their excuses [for not doing so], if there’ll be any.”
The guests at the event in Grozny included Scott Ritter, a political analyst and former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, who previously served as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty in the USSR and as a chief weapons inspector with the UN in Iraq between 1991 and 1998.
“Ritter, unlike some, understood this trolling correctly,” the leader of Chechnya said of his offer. “As for the sanctions, they don’t interfere with our lives in any way,” he added.
The US blacklisted Kadyrov’s family members – including his wife and daughters – in 2020, accusing Chechen authorities of “gross human rights violations.” In August last year, financial restrictions and a travel ban were also imposed on Aymani Kadyrova – the Chechen leader’s mother. According to Washington, she was targeted for running the Akhmat Kadyrov Foundation, which the US claimed was involved in the “re-education” of Ukrainian children evacuated by Russia from the conflict zone.
Kadyrov himself is under sanctions from both the US and the EU, having been slapped with restrictions back in 2017 under the Magnitsky Act.