Prolonged concern regarding the health of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, sheds light on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s reliance on Kadyrov for stability in the region, as reported by the Institute for the Study of War on September 17. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) allegedly confirmed on September 15 that Kadyrov was in a coma, sparking speculation about his well-being. However, Kadyrov denied these rumors in a video posted on September 17. The ISW notes that the destabilization of Kadyrov’s rule in Chechnya would greatly impact Putin’s regime, given the crucial role Chechnya played in establishing stability in Russia during the early days of Putin’s rule. Russian officials, including Kadyrov himself, may fear that ongoing speculation about his health will undermine long-term stability in Chechnya.
In addition, the ISW points out the liberation of Klishchiivka, situated south of Bakhmut, by Ukrainian forces. Analysts at the ISW highlight that Ukrainian control of Klishchiivka is a tactical victory with strategic significance, as it allows Ukrainian forces to engage a significant portion of the Russian airborne (VDV) units in the Bakhmut area. According to Ukrainian military spokesperson Illia Yevlash, the liberation of Klishchiivka will result in Russian forces losing control of the southern flank of Bakhmut, enabling the Ukrainian military to advance further and execute more precise and significant attacks using various artillery systems, drones, and available weapons. Yevlash states that the primary objective for Ukrainian forces is to seize control of logistical routes, particularly the railway, through which the Russians supply ammunition to the occupied city of Bakhmut.
Previously occupied by Russian forces in January, Klishchiivka, which had a population of approximately 500 residents, is located just five kilometers south of Russian-occupied Bakhmut. The successful recapture of the village was first announced on Facebook on September 17 by the Liut (“Anger”) Brigade, comprised of Ukrainian police and under the command of the National Guard. The liberation of Klishchiivka establishes a solid foundation for future offensives by the Ukrainian military.
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