Up to 1,300 paramilitary troops loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov have arrived in Ukraine’s Kherson region to reinforce Russian forces.
“To strengthen the Russian force in the temporarily captured territories of the Kherson region, a unit of the so-called Kadyrovtsy, formed on the basis of national identity, numbering up to 1,300 people, has arrived,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on September 10.
There is mounting evidence that Ukrainian troops have made significant advances in the Kherson region, which has been the focus of major fighting in recent weeks and was occupied by Russian forces shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Kadyrovtsy is a paramilitary force formed in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya that effectively serves as the region’s own army and which has been accused of rampant rights abuses.
Ukraine has for weeks talked about a large counteroffensive in the south around Kherson, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a visit to Prague on September 9 that “we see success in Kherson now.”
Austin also noted advances by Ukrainian forces in northeastern Ukraine near the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
In his nightly televised address on September 9, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy commended the military for its gains, saying Ukrainian troops had reclaimed more than 30 settlements in the Kharkiv region since the start of the counteroffensive there this week.
British military intelligence announced on September 10 that Ukrainian units involved in the counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territory in the east are now approaching the town of Kupiansk, which it said is a key hub for supply routes to Russian forces along the Donbas front line.