June 3, 2023

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Chechens who came in support of the Sheikh Mansour Battalion or Kiev

In 2014, Ukraine Founded after the annexation of Crimea, Sheikh Mansour saw the birth of the battalion and was mainly made up of war veterans. Chechnya. The group was named after a Chechen military commander against Russian expansion in the Caucasus in the 18th century, which is a reminder that the thirst for freedom of his people is not new.

Since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, there have been a few hundred of these veterans with shaved heads and long beards who have voluntarily gathered in Ukraine to fight Moscow.

Other Chechens are loyal to the Kremlin

These are not officially integrated into the Ukrainian army Chechens Equipped with items recovered from enemies. They are fed by the locals, mostly Orthodox, and they look favorably. But exactly how many are there? And where are they positioned? Members of the Sheikh Mansour Battalion did not want to say so or reveal their exact identities in order to protect their relatives staying in Chechnya from retaliatory measures.

Because on the other side of the front line are other Chechens, loyal to the Kremlin and included in the “Kadyrovtsy” commandos. The militants with this notorious reputation have been stopped with the Russian military. We are talking about 8,000 men, an unverifiable number. “We want to show that not all Chechens are like them, but many of us see the Russians as invaders and occupiers. I decided to join the battalion to destroy the honor of the Chechens who are trying to kidnap Moscow as terrorists,” explains 33-year-old Islam, who has taken refuge in Poland.

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To the members of the militant group, The War in Ukraine Looks like Teja Wu. “It’s like a journey on the path of memory, a continuation of what began in the Caucasus,” says Islam. The Chechen capital, Grozny, faced the same fate as Mariupol, who was crushed by Russian bombs two decades ago.

Chechnya, a small Muslim-majority republic, has been ravaged by two genocidal wars. Finally, triggered Vladimir PutinIn 1999, the powerful Ramadan of 2007 led to the establishment of Kadir under its leadership, which was accused of suppressing his opponents. As a result, an estimated 250,000 Chechen immigrants have emerged in Europe, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

“The way the government views us has changed”

Many Chechens living in Europe joined the ranks Organization of the Islamic State In the past, Ukrainian authorities have long been skeptical of such support. Some have been placed on the anti-terrorism list by pro-Russian elements in power, as searched by Interpol at Moscow’s request.

“But all this was before the invasion and now the government’s view of us has changed,” Islam said. Christians are also fighting in the battalion, now seen as “allies” and some Ukrainians prefer to join the army rather than join it.