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Chechen leader speaks out about Russian ‘regrouping’

The leader of Russia’s Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has expressed his dissatisfaction at the rapid withdrawal of the country’s troops from parts of Ukraine’s Kharkov Region, over the weekend.

Kadyrov pledged to discuss the situation with top officials in Moscow should there be no changes to the strategic direction of the ongoing conflict.

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Over the past few days, the Russian military withdrew from multiple locations across the region in the wake of a massive offensive launched by Kiev. Its leadership has made some “mistakes,” Kadyrov said, expressing hope that “they will draw the necessary conclusions.”

“The Ministry of Defense clarified the situation, because of which they left the towns of Izyum, Kupyansk, Balakleya in the Kharkov area. It was a forced measure due to military strategy in order to [avoid] loss of life,” Kadyrov said in a voice message, posted overnight to his Telegram channel.

The Chechen leader then promised to “get all these towns back,” cryptically adding that “our people, guys specifically trained for such a job, are already there.” He added that “in the nearest future, we will reach [southwestern port city] Odessa and you will see concrete results.”

READ MORE: Russian military explains partial withdrawal

At the same time, he called for changes to be made to Russian “strategy” in the ongoing operation. “If today or tomorrow no changes in strategy are made, I will be forced to speak with the leadership of the defense ministry and the leadership of the country to explain the real situation on the ground to them. It’s a very interesting situation. It’s astounding, I would say,” Kadyrov stated.

The withdrawal of Russian troops from Kharkov Region has been hailed by the Ukrainian leadership as a major success for the country. “To date, as part of active operations since the beginning of September, about 2,000 [square] kilometers of our territory have already been liberated,” President Zelensky said in a video address late on Saturday.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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