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Chechen Special Forces Deployed in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Commander Says

Servicemen of the Chechen battalion Akhmat. Alexander Reka / TASS

Fighters from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s Akhmat military unit have been deployed to northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region amid Russia’s recent offensive, the unit’s commander Apti Alaudinov said Monday.

“The fighters have been transferred to different sites along the entire line of contact that had to be covered up,” the state-run news agency TASS quoted Major General Alaudinov as saying in southwestern Russia’s Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border. 

Moscow launched a new land offensive in early May around the Kharkiv region, with Defense Minister Andrei Belousov saying Friday that Russian forces have pushed Ukrainian forces around 8-9 kilometers back.

Ukraine’s military said last week Russia was continuing to send additional regiments and brigades from other areas to bulk up its troops in northern Kharkiv.

“It’s very pleasant and flattering that we were transferred to these key sites,” TASS quoted Alaudinov as saying, adding that Akhmat troops are “also performing assault attacks.”

On his Telegram channel, Alaudinov claimed that the Russian military plans to “complete” combat operations in Ukraine in 2024.

“We’re preparing for actions that we call decisive,” he told the troops on a visit.

The exact number of Chechen troops who make up Kadyrov’s Akhmat special forces is unknown. Kadyrov has previously claimed that Akhamat is made up of three divisions.

After coming under the Russian Defense Ministry’s formal command last year, Akhmat fighters were deployed both in southwestern Russia’s Belgorod region and the captured eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Alaudinov deputy head of the Defense Ministry's “military-political” department, essentially making him responsible for political obedience in the military.

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