Chechnya’s Kadyrov: One day I plan my own mercenary group

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Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, said on Sunday that he one day planned to set up his own private military company in the style of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group of mercenaries.

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The rise of Wagner and other mercenary groups outside the traditional Russian and Soviet-era military command structures has raised concerns among diplomats that such groups could one day pose a threat to stability in Russia.

In a post on Telegram, Kadyrov said that Wagner, which has been fighting alongside Russian troops in Ukraine, had achieved “impressive results” and said private military companies were a necessity.

“When my service to the state is completed, I seriously plan to compete with our dear brother Yevgeny Prigozhin and create a private military company. I think it will all work out,” said Kadyrov, who has served as head of the Chechen Republic since 2007.

Kadyrov and Prigozhin both lead forces in Ukraine largely autonomously of Russia’s high command and are staunch allies of President Vladimir Putin, but they have also spoken out against the country’s military leadership.

The two men have formed a tacit alliance, amplifying each other’s criticism of the military top brass and calling for more vigorous prosecution of the conflict.

Mounting evidence suggests the Kremlin has moved to curb what it sees as Prigozhin’s excessive political clout, ordering him to halt his public criticism of the defense ministry while advising state media to stop mentioning him or Wagner by name.

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