Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in 2011 (Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Saturday’s Coverage: A Counter-Offensive Breakthrough in East

Map: Institute for Study of War


Trying to refute claims that he is seriously ill, Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov has appeared in videos released on Sunday.

In the footage, on Kadyrov’s Telegram channel, he strolls in an unidentified location in a raincoat, smiling with a puffy face.

In a second video, he speaks Chechen and then says in Russian, “Practice sport.”

A caption with the videos admonishes, “I strongly recommend that everyone who cannot distinguish the truth from lies on the internet go for a walk, get some fresh air and put their thoughts in order.”


Russia has fired four S-300 missiles on a “civilian enterprise” in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv, says Governor Oleh Synehubov.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed the missile struck a repair facility for armored vehicles.


Russia has fired missiles and drones on the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, hitting an agriculture facility.

The Ukraine Air Force said six of 10 cruise missiles and all six Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones were downed before they struck targets.


A Ukrainian drone damaged an oil depot in the Oryol region in southwestern Russia early Sunday.

Governor Andrei Klychkov acknowledged the strike on the city of Oryol at around 3:50 a.m. He said a fire at the depot was later extinguished. There were no casualties.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said two drones were downed as they approached the Russian capital: “According to preliminary data, there was no destruction or casualties at the site where the debris fell.”

Six flights were cancelled and more than 30 delayed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, and Vnukovo airports.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed six drones were intercepted over Russian-occupied Crimea.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ramzan Kadyrov — the warlord installed by Vladimir Putin to control Chechnya since 2007 — is critically ill, according to Ukraine’s State security service SBU.

SBU spokesperson Andriy Yusov told the Ukrainian outlet Obozrevatel on Friday, “Yes, indeed, there is information that war criminal Kadyrov is in serious condition — his existing diseases have worsened.”

He said the information had been confirmed by multiple medical and political sources.

Obozrevatel earlier reported claims, from sources in Chechnya, that Kadyrov fell into a coma several days ago. It reported that Kadyrov is waiting to be transferred from Chechnya for treatment abroad, likely in the United Arab Emirates.

Claims have long circulated that Kadyrov suffers from kidney disease.

Yusov did not give details on the warlord’s illness, including whether he is comatose.

“He has been ill for a long time, and it is about systemic health problems. But he has been in serious condition for the last few days,” the SBU spokesman said.

In March, Kadyrov shrugged off rumors of his declining health in a post on Telegram: “For those who console themselves with the hope that I am terminally ill, I am sorry to upset you.”

Russia suppressed a Chechen insurgency in two wars in 1994-1995 and 1999-2000. Many tens of thousands of civilians were killed, and the capital Grozny was levelled.

Kadyrov has been ruthless in his elimination of any opposition and dominance of the population. International NGOs have called for the leader to face prosecution for crimes against humanity.

The warlord has remained loyal to Putin. He has provided fighters to prop up Russia’s interventions and invasions abroad, including in Syria and in Ukraine. Those men have also been accused of war crimes.