Ukraine obliterates Russian battle tank in Luhansk Oblast
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Vladimir Putin is facing a serious Chechen crisis, after army refuseniks and Kadyrov loyalists engaged in a major armed confrontation over the weekend. The fighting has raised fears that the Islamic republic may be sliding back into civil war and bloody strife, that afflicted the country for a large part of the 1990s. The country, located in the Caucasus, is ruled by Putin’s close ally Ramzan Kadyrov.
The Chechen leader is renowned for his brutality and his regime has been accused of widespread human rights’ abuses.
He has been a staunch supporter of Putin’s war in Ukraine, and has sent thousands of his private militia, known as Kadyrovites, to help the Russian army.
However, many in Chechnya have little appetite to go and fight in Putin’s war and have sought to avoid the recently announced nationwide draft.
A group of ten Chechen refuseniks became involved in a “massive” shootout with members of Kadyrov’s militia, according to local reports.
The incident took place on Saturday in a forest in the vicinity of the village Samashki, located on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia.
The draft dodgers opened fire on the Kadyrovites with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, before legging it.
The incident has sparked a republic wide search by Chechnya’s security forces.
Local sources reported what they called “large-scale targeted cleansing” by Kadyrov’s henchmen.
The village was the scene of a massacre carried out by Russian forces between April 7-8 1995, during the first Chechen war.
A 1996 report by United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) claimed that over 100 civilians in the settlement were slaughtered by Russian soldiers.
The report’s authors wrote: “According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and their dwellings in Samashki by shooting residents and burning houses with flame-throwers.
“The majority of the witnesses reported that many OMON troops were drunk or under the influence of drugs.
“They wantonly opened fire or threw grenades into basements where residents, mostly women, elderly persons and children, had been hiding.”
The OMON is a special-police branch of the National Guard of Russia, and is often deployed to crush protests in Russia.
Kadyrov has pledged to send another 70,000 Chechen troops to Ukraine, as Putin seeks to boost his frontlines with more army personnel.
Video images purportedly show thousands of Chechen soldiers in a central square in Grozny, as they prepare to depart for Ukraine.
In an interview for local TV, the Chechen strongman said: “We always want to live in peace and agreement with all countries – but some countries don’t want that.
“We will demonstrate that you can’t joke like that with us.
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“We’re either friends, or we’ll send them off with a one way ticket.”
It comes as Kyiv endured another aerial bombardment by kamikaze drones on Monday, which killed at least one person.
Vitali Klitschko, the city’s mayor, said Russia had sent over 28 drones in the attack.
He added: “Thanks to our armed forces and air defence, most of the flying terrorists were shot down.
“A total of five explosions were heard in Kyiv.”
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