Leading the Chechen forces in the southeastern city of Mariupol is Adam Delimkhanov, a cousin of Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov, who is likely deployed as a field commander, according to the British Ministry. Delimkhanov has a bloody reputation, accused of ordering several extrajudicial killings and kidnappings, and he recently threatened to behead the family members of a human rights activist.
“In attempting to overcome Ukrainian resistance, Russia has made significant use of auxiliary personnel. This includes a deployment of Chechen forces, likely consisting of several thousand fighters primarily concentrated in the Mariupol and Luhansk sectors,” the British Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.
“These forces likely consist of both individual volunteers and National Guard units, which are routinely dedicated to securing the rule of Chechen Republic Head, Ramzan Kadyrov,” the agency continued.
“Kadyrov likely maintains close personal oversight of the deployment, while his cousin Adam Delimkhanov has likely acted as the Chechen field commander in Mariupol,” according to the U.K.
Delimkhanov, 52, is the head of the Chechen National Guard and a member of the Russian State Duma. He is known in Russia as “Kadyrov’s personal executioner” and has been linked to several murders and kidnappings of opposition leaders outside Russia.
In February, Delimkhanov threatened to behead the family of a human rights activist whose mother was arrested in Russia and forced back to Chechnya. Her family called the case a kidnapping.
“We will rip off your heads, we will kill you,” Delimkhanov reportedly said in an Instagram video.
The U.K. said the deployment of Delimkhanov and more Chechen forces “demonstrates Russia’s significant resourcing problems in Ukraine and is likely contributing to a disunited command which continues to hamper Russia’s operations.”
Ukrainian resistance has “inflicted costly personnel losses amongst Russian forces,” according to the U.K.
Ukrainian troops have reportedly used U.S.-provided intelligence to target Russian generals, and have killed an estimated 12 generals since the start of the war.
The U.S. has denied reports that its intelligence is helping Ukraine kill high-ranking Russian military leaders.