Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called Tuesday for the destruction of Ukrainian cities in response to increasing counterattacks on border areas and Ukrainian regions that Putin claimed in a disputed annexation.
“We’ve already declared martial law… but they’re not shy, they shoot,” Kadyrov, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in an audio message posted on his Telegram messaging app channel. “I’m very dissatisfied. Our response is weak.”
“If a shell comes in our direction, our region, we need to wipe out [Ukrainian] cities off the face of the Earth … so they can’t even think of shooting in our direction,” he added.
A vocal supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kadyrov has regularly criticized the Russian military for falling short of his public calls for drastic measures on the battlefield.
Kadyrov called for the use of low-yield nuclear weapons earlier this month as Russian troops withdrew from a strategic town amid Ukrainian forces’ counteroffensive in the northeast and south.
Around the same time, Putin promoted Kadyrov, 46, to colonel general, the third-highest command rank in the Russian military hierarchy.
In Tuesday’s Telegram audio message, Kadyrov said “we must not look at what will happen tomorrow if we make any decisions,” possibly hinting at his earlier calls for the use of nuclear weapons.
His cryptic comments come amid a growing number of high-ranking Russian officials accusing Kyiv of planning to use a so-called “dirty bomb” to implicate the Kremlin in war crimes. Ukraine’s Western allies dismiss Moscow’s claims as a pretext for Russia to escalate the eight-month-long conflict.
“Everything possible has already been done. There won’t be anything worse,” Kadyrov said in the 13-minute audio.