Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Monday he would send his teenage sons, including his 14-year-old son Adam, to fight in Ukraine.
“It's time to prove themselves in a real fight and I only welcome this desire,” Kadyrov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and vocal backer of the war, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
"They will soon go to the frontline and will be on the most difficult sections of the contact line," he said, adding that his statement was addressed to “vain talkers who claimed my loved ones weren't taking part in the special military operation.”
He said Akhmat (16), Eli (15) and Adam (14) have been trained for combat "almost from their youngest years" and insisted he was "not joking."
Kadyrov's announcement comes days after he suggested that Russia should consider using low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine after Russian forces withdrew from the strategically important city of Lyman in the occupied Donetsk region.
"In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and use of low-yield nuclear weapons," Kadyrov said.
The Kremlin dismissed the call Monday as “an emotional moment.”
"In our country, the use of nuclear weapons happens only on the basis of what is stated in the relevant doctrine," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Kadyrov has been a vocal champion of the war in Ukraine, with Chechen fighters forming part of the forefront of the Russian forces.
Last month, Kadyrov said that Chechnya had deployed 20,000 troops to the front since the start of the Ukraine invasion in February and “over-fulfilled its conscription plan by 254%… even before the announcement of the partial mobilization.”
AFP contributed reporting.