by Susan Katz Keating
The Kremlin faked a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, in order to show that the gravely ill warlord is in good health, according to a Ukrainian official.
Kadyrov fell into a coma last month, Ukrainian SBU Security Service officials said.
“Yes, indeed, there is information that war criminal Kadyrov is in serious condition,” SBU spokesman Andriy Yusov said in September. “His existing diseases have worsened and caused such a serious condition.”
The Kremlin on Sept 28 publicized videos showing Kadyrov in good health and meeting last week with Putin; but a senior Ukrainian official suggested that the videos were filmed at least a month before the strongman fell ill.
Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, suggested that Kadyrov remains under medical care.
“Kadyrov’s plane is still in Moscow and there is still enforced security in Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, but it has moved to another building,” Gerashchenko wrote.
Kadyrov was accused last month of murdering his personal physician, Elkhan Suleymanov, in retaliation for the Chechen leader’s deteriorating health. Kadyrov believed that Suleymanov poisoned him, and buried the doctor alive, according to the Telegram channel VChK-OGPU. The channel claims to have contacts within Russian security forces.
READ MORE about Ramzan Kadyrov
Kadyrov has been suffering from chronic health issues, Yusov said.
“He has been ill for a long time, and it is about systemic health problems,” Yusov said. “But he has been in serious condition for the last few days.”
Kadyrov emerged as a bombastic successor of sorts to Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died Aug. 23 in a plane crash after running afoul of the Kremlin.
Unlike the former Wagner leader, Kadyrov was predictably loyal to the Kremlin and to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Kadyrov made opportune use of a Putin-approved public platform, announcing Kremlin-boosting battlefield victories and defeats. He wrote that Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian attack in Donetsk; and said that large numbers of Ukrainian forces were killed there in combat. He additionally said that Ukrainian troops are giving up the fight.
“This situation is making many of them pause and think and make the only right choice to lay their arms down,” Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel. The comment was published by Russia’s state news agency, TASS.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Soldier of Fortune. The question was emailed as per Moscow’s policy to the public correspondence office of the Government Department of Culture.
Susan Katz Keating is the publisher and editor in chief of Soldier of Fortune.