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Kadyrov announces plans to establish private military company

20 February 2023
Ramzan Kadyrov and Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Photo: Ramzan Kadyrov/VKontakte

Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday that he intends to establish a private military company to rival the paramilitary Wagner Group.

In a post on social media, Kadyrov claimed that the Wagner Group’s involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had proven the ‘necessity’ of private military companies, and that he was consequently ‘seriously planning to create competition’ for the Wagner Group’s founder Yevgeniy Prigozhin after he leaves politics.

The Wagner Group is a Russian private paramilitary organisation that has been accused of ‘widespread human rights abuses’ including mass executions, child abductions, and torture. 

Above a photograph of Kadyrov with Prigozhin, the head of Chechnya praised the ‘success’ of the Wagner Group in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and their ‘close cooperation’ with Chechen special forces.

‘[The Wagner Group] might seem to be just a private company, but it has managed to achieve very impressive results’, wrote Kadyrov. ‘Wagner achieves its goals in any situation'. 

He noted that the organisation’s role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had ‘ended debates’ on whether the country needed private military companies. 

Kadyrov’s praise for  the paramilitary group came a day after the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the Chechen leader had refused to support Prigozhin in a ‘campaign’ against Russia’s Defence Ministry. 

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The institute, which publishes daily reports on the war in Ukraine, noted on 17 February that Prigozhin had used Kadyrov’s criticism of Russian military officials in October 2022 to ‘undermine’ the Defence Ministry, but suggested that Kadyrov seemed to have refused to join Prigozhin’s ‘renewed informational attack’ against them. 

Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, reportedly formed the Wagner Group in  2014. The paramilitary group has taken part in military operations in Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali, and Ukraine, and is known is known for recruiting Russian convicts and prison inmates serving sentences for serious crimes in exchange for their freedom.

[Read more on OC Media: North Ossetian jailed for femicide allegedly released to fight in Ukraine]

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