Chechen chief Ramzan Kadyrov warns of fresh Russian offensive in Ukraine
Chechen chief Ramzan Kadyrov warns of Russian offensive on Ukraine cities - Kyiv, Mariupol
Russian forces have withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv regions
Kadyrov hinted troops would first fully liberate Luhansk, Donetsk, and then take Kyiv
Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the republic of Chechnya, said early Monday morning that Russian forces will launch an offensive on the besieged Azov Sea port city, Mariupol, the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and other cities.
In a video posted on his Telegram channel, Kadyrov says "There will be an offensive ... not only on Mariupol, but also on other places, cities and villages", adding, "Luhansk and Donetsk - we will fully liberate in the first place ... and then take Kyiv and all other cities."
The man, who's described himself as Russian President Vladimir Putin's foot soldier, also noted that there's no doubt about Kyiv. He promised, "I assure you: not one step will be taken back".
Notably, Russian forces have withdrawn from areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv and several intelligence reports from the West indicate that troops have gone from the north. There are suggestions that they'll regroup as Russia focuses its attack on east Ukraine, that is, the breakaway Donbas region, which Moscow recognized as independent before Putin sent his troops in, on February 24.
However, Kadyrov seems to indicate that troops might attack Kyiv, still, once they're done with Luhansk and Donetsk.
The Chechen head has been accused of human rights violations by both the United States and the European Union, but Kadyrov has denied them.
After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Moscow was involved in two wars with Chechen separatists. However, since then, it has invested in the primarily Muslim region of Southern Russia, with plans to rebuild it. Russia has also given Kadyrov a great deal of autonomy.
When Putin sent in Russian troops, his aim was to "denazify" and "demilitarize" Ukraine. Since then, forces have targeted civilians as Russia faces war crime accusations. Despite large troop gatherings at Kyiv's borders, the capital remains in Ukrainian hands for now.