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Confession

“Defending Ukraine, we're fighting for our honor tarnished by Kadyrovites”: Confessions of Chechen AFU fighters

Chechen participation in the war in Ukraine is mostly associated with Ramzan Kadyrov’s “TikTok troops” and their infamous staged videos, but several Chechen battalions are fighting on the frontline for Ukraine: one such battalion recently set up an ambush in Russia’s Belgorod Region, taking out military equipment and killing several enemy troops. Despite threats from Kadyrov, more and more Chechens are joining the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Insider spoke with Chechen AFU fighters about their motives, attitude to Kadyrov, and the combat situation.

Content
  • “I'm here to avenge the children, women, and elderly killed in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Syria, and Ukraine”

  • “By helping Ukraine win, we can return home and take back our homeland”

  • “Removing Kadyrov won't change anything. Our goal is to destroy the Kremlin”

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“I'm here to avenge the children, women, and elderly killed in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Syria, and Ukraine”

Fatkhi, Borz Unit, Separate Special Purpose Battalion of the Ministry of Defense of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (OBON), participant of the Belgorod Region sortie

I came to Ukraine for two reasons: to avenge my people and help Ukrainians. Russia occupied my entire country, Chechnya, killing a great number of my relatives: my father, brothers, aunt, and uncle. To me, Russians aren’t the enemy of Ukrainians or Chechens; they are the enemy of humankind. They’ll keep taking whatever they want and will never stop. If we let them win on Ukrainian soil, they’ll go further. So I’m here to avenge the children, women, and elderly killed in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Syria, and now in Ukraine too.

I came here in May 2022. First, I joined the Crimea Battalion. I had more than two months of boot camp. I was told training could take up to six months, but I didn't want to wait for so long, so I used my connections to get into OBON, a special-purpose battalion that only had a handful of troops at the time. We have more experienced guys, those who fought in Chechnya and Syria.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Fatkhi Baraev (right)
Fatkhi Baraev (right)

I’ve dreamed of joining the army or the police since I was a kid. I wanted to be like my dad. I’m cut out for this job, and even when the war is over, I’ll find a new cause that needs fighting for.

I was eight or nine during the [Second] Chechen War, but I remember a lot. Mom took us and fled Chechnya because Kadyrovites were after us. It was a blood feud. My father, a brigadier general, had executed occupants and Kadyrovite traitors who’d been going door to door at night and beating people in the streets, especially 15-16-year-old boys. They caught one without a passport, beat him so hard he was all covered in blood, and threw him in jail for being a “terrorist”.

My mother was detained and interrogated many times too. Every time, she returned shocked and speechless. Today, now that I’m fighting for Ukraine, they are intimidating and harassing her again, but she is reluctant to leave. She is more or less safe because my cousins serve in the Russian army.

One of them had his father killed by Kadyrovites too, but he’s fighting for them nonetheless. I’ve cut all contact with him: how can you wear the same uniform as the murderers of your family? In response, he called me a terrorist for supporting LGBT and living in Europe – it was when I lived in Denmark. I can say without hesitation that if I meet him in Ukraine, I’ll kill him.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

If I meet my Kadyrovite cousin in Ukraine, I’ll kill him

I’ve lived in Europe as a political refugee since I was 17. My mother abandoned us when I was ten and returned to Chechnya. I don't blame her or my father; I only blame Putin and the Russians who support whatever their president does. I abandoned everything to come to Ukraine: my friends, my social circle, my job. I hope for a quick victory so that we can go back to Chechnya and liberate all of Caucasus.

Everyone who had the opportunity to leave Chechnya already left. Those who had to stay live in fear, afraid to speak up or even think differently. They are afraid of opposing the system because in Chechnya this leads to prison, torture, or death. People get raped and killed for comments on Facebook. If you write you don't like Kadyrov, you and your family won’t live to see another day.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

If you write you don't like Kadyrov, you and your family won’t live to see another day

People have been living in fear for 25 years. When the time is right, even Kadyrovites will revolt against Kadyrov. Sending Chechens to fight in the Afghan War, the USSR pitted Muslims against other Muslims, but after its collapse, all Chechens who’d served in the Soviet army took up arms against Russia, shedding their blood in the First and Second Chechen wars. Of course, Kadyrov has genuine supporters among his people, those who love him in return for money and power, but others simply have no choice. A lot of young people are jobless, and joining the army pays well. Hating Kadyrov, they still side with him for the money.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Fatkhi Baraev (front row, right)
Fatkhi Baraev (front row, right)

I dared Kadyrov when he spoke ill of my father: “Come to Bakhmut and show us your real worth.” After that, my paternal relatives had to flee Chechnya. My relatives who lived in Europe begged me not to do it again: “Fight for as long as you please, but keep your mask on and refrain from speaking up against Kadyrovites, lest your relatives in Chechnya will be beaten and raped.”

Had I been afraid of Kadyrov, I wouldn’t have come here to fight. I’m not immune to fear, of course – I’m only human. But I keep it under control. If a soldier says he is never afraid, he is either lying or crazy. We’re all afraid, but we still get the job done. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone to Bakhmut or the Belgorod Region to set up an ambush. I begged my commander to take me on that mission, even though I knew we could end up trapped or encircled. I’m proud of what I did, and it didn’t take a toll on me. I heard them scream; I saw them die. One was a Kadyrovite, by the way.

They aren't very skilled fighters – they are mostly just for show. Chechen servicemen in the Russian army don’t report to Kadyrov, but his own units are more like police – useless in combat. The only adversary they’ve known are Caucasian guerrillas. They’d encircle a house to capture one kid with an assault rifle. They’d rally up to 200 troops to do the job. They're helpless against aviation and artillery and have no storming skills. They're bandits, Putin's minions, good at nothing but torture, rape, and chasing saboteur kids in the mountains.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

They're bandits, Putin's minions, good at nothing but torture, rape, and chasing saboteur kids in the mountains

We don't sit in the trenches all day long. A typical mission is to capture or eliminate someone or destroy equipment. We live in town and attend training but sometimes have to sleep outdoors on missions. I haven’t been wounded but had a mild concussion once. A 120-mm mortar hit a spot seven or eight meters away, and I was quick enough to jump into the trench. I’ve taken part in many difficult storming operations. I’ve been under heavy fire: shells, Grads, cluster bombs. We were once coupled with Alfa, a special ops unit, and when they had many killed, they abandoned us. There were only five of us left.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

OBON Battalion fighters
OBON Battalion fighters

We recently had to walk 19 kilometers, and I was carrying a machine gun and a 50-kilo backpack. I was so exhausted I thought I’d die. But I kept going, realizing I’d become a liability for my unit if I stop. I remember falling a couple of times on my way back because my legs gave out. It’s hard. It’s very hard, but you can't help it – it's war.

“By helping Ukraine win, we can return home and take back our homeland”

Bertan, OBON Battalion, Borz Unit

The beginning of the full-scale war gave rise to strong anti-Chechen propaganda. The world saw us as demons who'd joined the Russian army to slaughter Ukrainians. The attitude grew even stronger after the atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha. This took a toll on the Chechens: the world saw us as a separate nation that had joined Russia in attacking Ukraine. So I decided I had to go to Ukraine and help: there was no other way.

I came to Ukraine in April 2022, and when we finally heard an arrangement had been made between the AFU and the Armed Forces of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, we started to look for ways to contact the CRI Ministry of Defense to join the OBON Battalion.

Our leaders had decided to set up a battalion that would help Ukraine. We were still waiting for official confirmation, but when the world was shaken by what happened in Bucha and Irpin, I set out for Ukraine to do whatever I could. I had immediate flashbacks of my childhood, the First and the Second Chechen wars, and the massacre of civilians in Novye Aldi, when I was 16 or 17 and couldn't do anything about it. Today, looking at the lawlessness Russia has unleashed in Ukraine, neither I nor my friends can stay idle. We remember how they wrought destruction on Grozny. We remember Samashki, and we can see them doing the same thing in Ukraine – on a much bigger scale. For me, the war never ended.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

For me, the war never ended

Since I had no previous combat experience, I was trained in the battalion, along with other guys. They run things very smoothly here. Almost every three months we get training and reinforcement. In Chechnya, we only had RPGs, and here we get modern NATO weapons most fighters have never used before. It takes a lot of training with various firearms and shooting ranges. We drill maneuvers that can change in a matter of seconds in combat. Physical training is also mandatory. You must be able to act without thinking, both for your own sake and for your fellow soldiers.

I’m no stranger to war and have been under shelling and heavy fire. Even though I was a kid back then, I quickly found my footing here. Everyone in our unit knew their way around weapons after two weeks of training.

My first missions mostly had to do with recon. Commanders never send newbies to the most dangerous spots. But as you grow, your tasks become more daring. It was scary at first, of course, but the fear goes away in two minutes or so – otherwise, you can’t do your job.

Our battalion coordinates all of its operations with the AFU. We’re part of the International Legion, and apart from Ukrainian officers, we cooperate with foreigners: Canadians, Americans, and Georgians.

Ukrainians realize we’re fighting a common enemy. This understanding is present on all levels, from the high command to ordinary OBON fighters. It's not just Ukraine we're defending – we're fighting for our honor tarnished by Kadyrovites. Most importantly, we’ve sent the message to the world that not all Chechens have sided with Russia. For us, the Chechens who joined the Russian army aren’t Chechen anymore. Chechens don’t rape or rob civilians. Those aren’t Chechens; those are Kadyrovites, orcs.

Kadyrovites have no cause. Whatever they say in their videos, be it “Akhmat is power!” or “Glory to Russia”, they have no power. Kadyrovites and those who stand for them stay away from urban combat or any kind of battlefield or frontline. They know they’re the aggressor. They make videos to look good in Kadyrov's eyes and show off, but that’s not how you show courage. Kadyrov’s an idiot who knows nothing about Islam. You can't call the war in Ukraine a jihad. We know perfectly well what Kadyrov's “army” really is.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Kadyrovites make videos like “Akhmat is power!” and “Glory to Russia” to look good in their leader's eyes

Unlike them, we do have a cause: by helping Ukraine win, we can return home and take back our homeland, proving to the world that Chechens and Kadyrovites aren’t the same.

A few fighters in our battalion fought in the First and Second Chechen wars. They stayed in Chechnya up until 2014 and kept up their resistance, holding by the skin of their teeth and hoping for things to change. And indeed, things have changed. Ten years ago, people saw us [Chechens] as terrorists, but now the attitude has changed.

Waging war in Chechnya was much harder. The guys I spoke to said they'd had to fight almost blindly. We have equipment that helps on the ground and in the air, but in Chechnya, we had nothing against Russian aviation and artillery. Each day was a struggle for survival. Here, you can go on a mission, spend some time on the frontline, and then go back for some rest. The guys recall there’d been days [in Chechnya] when they had no food at all. Or they had to make sure their food and clothes weren't poisoned. The Ukrainian war is more intensive, of course. The fire is very heavy, but on the other hand, there is always the rear, where you’re safe, where you can take a break before returning to battle.

“Removing Kadyrov won't change anything. Our goal is to destroy the Kremlin”

Mansur, Sheikh Mansur Battalion

I kept a close eye on the situation in Ukraine in 2014, when mass unrest began, and came to Ukraine in 2015. I already realized that Russia was using peacekeeping as a pretext to occupy foreign territories, like in Georgia and Ossetia. When Russians occupied Crimea, the Donetsk and the Luhansk regions, rumors began to circulate in the media that it was the Chechens who’d attacked Ukraine. I was living in Turkey, and it pained me a lot to hear such words about my people. Of course, those reports referred to Kadyrovite traitors, whom Kremlin courtiers had sent to Ukraine.

Without wasting time, I went to Ukraine to make sure every Ukrainian, including journalists, understands that the Chechen people is different from those traitors. The second reason why I came here was to give our common enemy a beating. I took up arms in 1999 and have been fighting the system ever since.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Sheikh Mansur Battalion fighters
Sheikh Mansur Battalion fighters

I have vast combat experience from the Chechen war, so I’m training new recruits and teaching them the art of warfare. For me and many of my comrades, there's nothing new about this war. We’re fighting the same Russian troops and the same Russian artillery. All the lies and propaganda they are spreading are also familiar.

Each fighter in our battalion has extensive military skills and experience. We can use any kind of weapon. The least seasoned fighters have ten years of experience, but most have 20 or 30. We aren't recruiting young fighters from Chechnya because we're working toward liberating our land. We need people there, and they’ll be of more use where they are.

I got my first wound in the first days of the war, in March 2022, during the first counteroffensive near Brovary. That night, our 14-strong team entered the community of Velyka Dymerka and destroyed four tanks.

Five days later, I was back in active service. It was only a penetrating wound. I’d been wounded before, so it wasn’t a big deal. Nothing about war is easy: people you care about get killed or wounded, go missing in action. Cold, hunger, and hardship – that's what war is. You can’t relax even for a second. The hardest thing is to tell the parents and families of fallen soldiers that their son or father isn’t coming home.

Since we’re a volunteer formation, we aren’t part of the regular army, and all our actions have to be approved. We mostly work with the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine). Our tasks are sabotage and recon: “the bee tactic” when you appear out of nowhere, sting, and get out. Our guerrilla warfare skills date back to the First and Second Chechen wars.

We coordinate our every mission with Ukrainian troops to ensure artillery support if things go south. Air surveillance always controls and monitors us.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

We coordinate our every mission with Ukrainian troops to ensure artillery support if things go south

Our late president Dzhokhar Dudaev said in 1990, in no uncertain terms, what Russia truly is and what evil it harbors. Today we all stand witness to the truth of his words. Had Chechnya received as much help as Ukraine is getting, we’d have razed the Russian empire to the ground long ago. The people of Ukraine would be living in peace, and the Baltic states and NATO wouldn’t be facing an existential threat. Our top priority is to resolve the Ukrainian issue to our benefit. We’ll certainly accomplish this, with God’s help, and will return to Chechnya, where Ukraine will help us.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Sheikh Mansur Battalion fighters
Sheikh Mansur Battalion fighters

If Chechnya had freedom of will, over 90% of its people would never support the current regime, but they live in oppression. We’ve been in a state of war for 30 years. We start educating our children at the age of two, explaining to them what's going on. Chechnya ranks first by mental disorders. Loss of life doesn’t scare us. People are afraid of being humiliated and offended in public, so Kadyrov hits where it hurts, holding our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters hostage to manipulate us. A woman is sacrosanct in our culture, so people keep their mouths shut. Not everyone has the means or the mindset to move abroad.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

Kadyrov hits where it hurts, holding our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters hostage to manipulate us

We realize we’re outnumbered and that starting a revolt today would only cause Russia to freeze the war in Ukraine under some convoluted pretext and focus all of its firepower on Chechnya. And we’d be left to fight this monster all alone. Removing Kadyrov won't change anything in our homeland, so our goal is to destroy the Kremlin, which is the lair of all evil.

Young people are strongly influenced by propaganda, and those sent to war have to give up their phones. However, once they manage to contact their relatives, we get requests to help them surrender – but in a way that they won't get exchanged and sent back to Kadyrov's system. We get such requests by the hundred. Their coordinates are submitted to the SBU's central command or the GKR [the Main Directorate of Intelligence] for further processing.

Kadyrov keeps a close eye on those fighting for Ukraine. He tries to make our lives difficult and sends assassins, but we aren't careless, and we take precautions. Everyone who shows their face either has no one left alive or has no family living in Chechnya. The same goes for me – I have no one left.

The Samashki massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians by Russian Forces during the First Chechen War. The March 1996 United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) report said: «It is reported that a massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians, occurred between 7 and 8 April 1995 in the village of Samashki, in the west of Chechnya. According to the accounts of 128 eye-witnesses, Federal soldiers deliberately and arbitrarily attacked civilians and civilian 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 Novye Aldi massacre was the mass murder of Chechen civilians during the Second Chechen War, on February 5, 2000. Russian forces went on a cleansing operation, summarily executing dozens of civilians. The village had been cluster-bombed a day prior to the massacre, and local residents were urged to come out for inspection the next day. Upon entering the village, Russian forces shot their victims in cold blood, with automatic fire at close range. The killings were accompanied by looting, rape, arson, and robbery. 

Currently headed by Akhmed Zakaev, the «exiled» Ichkerian government was created by Chechen separatists after the Second Chechen War and the fall of the CRI. Dudayev's supporters, who advocated the Republic's independence, were forced to emigrate. Since 2014, the Chechen diaspora and the exiled head of the CRI are helping Ukraine fight the Russian aggression.

The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI), known simply as Ichkeria, and also known as Chechnya, was a de facto state that controlled most of the former Checheno-Ingush ASSR. The First Chechen War of 1994–1996 resulted in the victory of the separatist forces. In November 1997, Chechnya was proclaimed an Islamic republic. The Second Chechen War began in August 1999, with Ichkeria falling and subsequently being forcibly subsumed back under Russian rule in 2000. An insurgency followed soon thereafter, officially ending in April 2009 after several years of conflict. Since the 2000s, several entities have claimed to be an exile government of Ichkeria. In October 2022, the Ukrainian Supreme Rada voted to recognize the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as «temporarily occupied» by Russia.

The Bucha massacre was the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the city of Bucha near Kyiv as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photographic and video evidence of the massacre emerged on 1 April 2022 after Russian forces withdrew from the city.

The First and the Second Russo-Chechen wars marked the most recent stage of the centuries-long Chechen-Russian conflict. A war of independence between the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the Russian Federation, the First Chechen War unfolded from 1994 to 1996, culminating in the devastating battle of Grozny (the Chechen capital). The Second Chechen War took place from 1999 to 2009, ending in a protracted counter-insurgency stage and the installation of a pro-Kremlin government headed by Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin's appointee and the father of current Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

The Soviet–Afghan War was a protracted armed conflict fought in the Soviet-controlled Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA) from 1979 to 1989 between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union, the DRA and allied paramilitary groups against the Afghan mujahideen, foreign fighters, and smaller groups of anti-Soviet Maoists. The war caused grave destruction throughout Afghanistan and has also been cited by scholars as a significant factor that contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, formally ending the Cold War.

Arbi Baraev, a Chechen field commander killed in the Second Chechen War, one of the best-known resistance leaders fighting Russian troops in Chechnya

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