Russia’s war against Ukraine is taking an ever more bizarre and humiliating turn for Moscow.
In this case, Chechens and Buryats fell out and started shooting at each other in de facto tribal warfare, leaving dozens of dead on both sides.
Russia’s Scary Chechen Units
The incident in question occurred on April 29 on the battlefield in the south of Ukraine.
Putin ordered nearly 200,000 troops to attack Ukraine from three sides back on February 24, seeking to conquer Ukraine and make it part of his neo-Soviet empire.
The plucky resistance of the Ukrainians, however, has completely frustrated Putin’s plans. Russians have only occupied narrow strips of land in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Their current offensive in the southeastern Donbas region has been very slow to make any substantial territorial gains.
Against this backdrop, many Russian units, up to 40% of the service personnel, are refusing to fight in Ukraine, per Ukrainian intelligence sources.
Therefore, the Russian military is said to have ramped up the use of “death squads” lurking behind the battle lines in order to shoot any deserters or anybody who wants to retreat.
At least in some Russian units, the murder of its own troops has been ascribed to Chechen units out of Chechnya, the formerly rebellious Muslim Russian republic in the Caucasus Mountains.
Moscow has been showering Chechnya with cash in exchange for its loyalty. The head of the ruling clan in the Muslim republic, President Ramzan Kadyrov, is extremely loyal to Putin, who deems him his “spiritual son.”
The Russian military has been trying to deploy the Chechens troops to Ukraine as a terror weapon. Chechen organized crime typically causes great fear among the citizens of Russia.
However, the effect is non-existent in Ukraine. Early in the invasion, Ukrainians managed to wipe out an entire Chechen tank column near Kyiv and kill its high-ranking commander.
Reports coming in about a shootout between Russian forces in Kiselivka, in the Kherson region.
50 Buryats started shooting against 50 Chechens after the Chechens stole goods that the Buryats had looted from Ukrainian homes.
Killed & injured on both sides before FSB intervened. pic.twitter.com/xJEYDDRWMz
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 29, 2022
Ukrainian Intelligence says dozens of Buryats and Chechens started a skirmish after they couldn't share stolen goods near Kherson.
Also, the fact that Buryats often attack first while Chechens afterward fueled ethnic conflict in the "Russian" army.https://t.co/jFmSiD8TXs
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) April 29, 2022
Chechens vs. Buryats, All from Russia’s Military
Since then, the Chechen participation in the war in Ukraine has been mostly visible from social media videos posted by Ramzan Kadyrov himself.
These videos show the Chechen fighters attacking without any return fire, leading them to be mocked by Ukrainian media for fighting against “empty buildings” or, in one case, even against traffic lights.
In the incident near Kherson, a Chechen death squad got into a shooting fight with a Russian unit made up primarily of ethnic Buryats, one of Russia’s Asian ethnicities.
The conflict broke out because the two units in question fell out over “looting rights”, and because the Buryats were supposed to man the very front of the Russian lines, with Chechens in the back.
The Chechens vs. Buryat shooting killed and wounded dozens of Russian troops on both sides; the end result was a “victory” for the Buryats, according to Ukrainian sources.
According to Ukrainian government official and military intelligence officer Oleksiy Arestovich, the incident of tribal infighting in the Russian military demonstrates its “complete demoralization and degradation.”
A “brutal sect” from Chechen ranks executed Russian soldiers who had been “heavily wounded” in northern Ukraine, the Daily Mail reported.
According to Artem Hurin, a member of the city council in the nearby town of Irpin and a fighter from Ukraine’s volunteer units, the wounded ethnic Russian soldiers could have only been executed by the “Kadyrovtsy.”
The Chechen fighters are known after the name of their leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Witness accounts of survivors in Bucha say the Chechens also tortured, raped, and murdered Ukrainian civilians in the entire region. They started that as early as March 5.
All the nations who locating on area, currently named as Russian Federaton: buryats, bashkirs, avars, dargins, chechens etc. Don't be a part of genocide, rapings and child molesting. This is the time to step up! Dont be a "russian Z soldier." Let`s make the world a better place!
— Genka (@PaksBasilio) April 24, 2022
— The Odessa Journal 🖋⚓ (@Odessa_Journal) April 29, 2022
These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of May 1, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/SjdjrA0nge
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 1, 2022
“When Ukrainians talk about the Russian troops, they always mention Buryats and Chechens. And we do not want this reputation.”
A new Buryat group is highlighting opposition to the war among one of Russia’s largest indigenous peoples, @scherbakova7 reports https://t.co/6uAJn283a8
— The Moscow Times (@MoscowTimes) April 29, 2022