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Chechen leader Kadyrov sends three teenage sons, one aged 14, to fight in Ukraine

The Independent logo The Independent 04/10/2022 Joe Middleton

Chechen leader and key Vladimir Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov has revealed that he has sent his three young sons to fight in Ukraine.

The warlord has been a vocal champion of the conflict in Ukraine, with Chechen forces forming part of the vanguard of the Russian army, and even advocated using nuclear weapons in the war over the weekend.

And now the Chechen forces will be joined on the frontline by his sons Akhmat, 16, Eli, 15, and Adam, 14, reports Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.

In a post on Telegram, Kadyrov said: “A minor age should not interfere with the training of the defenders of our Motherland. Akhmat, Eli and Adam are 16, 15 and 14 years old respectively. But their military training began a long time ago, almost from an early age. And I’m not joking.

“The time has come to show themselves in a real battle, and I only welcome their desire. Soon they will go to the front line and will be on the most difficult sections of the line of contact.”

Meanwhile, Moscow has slapped down a suggestion from Kadyrov that “low-yield” nuclear weapons should be used in Ukraine after a series of embarrassing battleground losses.

The Kremlin said it favoured a “balanced approach” to the use of its nuclear arsenal and not one based on emotion.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he had the right to voice his opinion, but that Russia’s military approach should not be driven by emotions.

“This is a very emotional moment. The heads of regions have the right to express their point of view,” Peskov said in a call with reporters on Monday.

Putin meets with Kadyrov at his residence near Moscow in August 2019 (via Reuters) © Provided by The Independent Putin meets with Kadyrov at his residence near Moscow in August 2019 (via Reuters)

“But even in difficult moments, emotions should be kept out of any kind of assessment. So we prefer to stick to balanced, objective assessments.”

Peskov said the basis for any use of nuclear weapons was set down in Russia’s nuclear doctrine.

Those guidelines allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they – or another weapon of mass destruction – are used against Russia, or if the Russian state faces an existential threat from conventional weapons.

“There can be no other considerations when it comes to this,” said Peskov.

This map shows the state of affairs in the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images) © Provided by The Independent This map shows the state of affairs in the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

Last month, Putin warned the west he was “not bluffing” when he said Russia was prepared to use nuclear weapons to protect its territory.

On Friday he said the United States had created a “precedent” by dropping nuclear bombs on Japan at the end of the Second World War.

Other top Putin allies, including former president Dmitry Medvedev, have suggested that Russia may need to resort to nuclear weapons as well.

Russia has the world’s largest atomic arsenal, including low-yield tactical nuclear weapons that are designed to be deployed against opposing armies.

Additional reporting by agencies

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