Putin reeling as Kremlin loses yet another key ally in Ukraine war

Ramzan Kadyrov says his time 'is also coming'

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Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov appears to suggest he is leaving combat operations in Ukraine to take an “indefinite and long” break. The Chechnya President is the latest in a series of high-profile figures to abandon Vladimir Putin in his attempt to invade the entirety of Ukraine, dealing another blow to the Russian President.

Speaking in a video statement posted on his Telegram account, Mr Kadyrov said: “I just found out that I’m the longest living person among all the heads of subjects [heads of republics in the Russian Federation].”

Between chuckles, he said: “In the first place for 15 years already, I’ve been leading the republic [of Chenchya].

“We Caucasians, Chechens have this saying: ‘However respected and long-awaited a guest is. If he leaves on time, then it’s even nicer.’

“So, I think my time has also come.”

Mr Kadyrov said: “Before they’ve been kicked out of here, turns out I’m old already.

“I used to be the youngest and the least experienced.

“And I remain like this – inexperienced. My youth is gone.”

Ramzan Kadyrov’s video statement has sparked speculations about whether he is seriously considering stepping down.

Mr Kadyrov has ruled over the Republic of Chechnya since 2007, making him the longest-serving leader of a Russian region.

The Chechnyan President has close relations with Vladimir Putin. The last time he met the Russian leader was on August 5 in Sochi.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Mr Kadyrov has made similar comments in the past only to remain in his post, raising doubts about his intentions.

“I’m skeptical. He has said things like this in the past,” Ivan Klyszcz, a Caucasus expert and doctoral candidate at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies in Estonia, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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“These typically arrive when he wants to get something out of Putin, at the very least a public expression of support,” Mr Klyszcz added.

During his tenure, the Chechnyan President has advocated restricting the public lives of women and led anti-gay purges in the Republic.

He has come under criticism over the years, with Human Rights Watch calling the forced disappearances and torture so widespread they constituted crimes against humanity.

The apparent resignation comes as Ukrainian forces are conducting a major counteroffensive in the Kherson region.

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