Di Dalam Pasukan Chechen yang Membantu Melawan Perang Rusia

Photographs by Nanna HeitmannText by Neil MacFarquharNanna Heitmann observed Russian troops training in Chechnya and later traveled to Bakhmut, Ukraine. Neil MacFarquhar reported from New York on June 16, 2024.A large military transport plane landed at the main airfield in Grozny, Chechnya, where 120 volunteer fighters bound for Ukraine boarded the aircraft. These fighters, dressed in camouflage, had completed training at the Special Forces University in Gudermes, near Grozny, before heading to the conflict zone in Ukraine.Some of the volunteer fighters were new recruits without combat experience, while others were seasoned veterans, including former mercenaries from the disbanded Wagner militia. These fighters transferred to the Chechen-trained forces known as Akhmat battalions, attracted by signing bonuses and monthly payments that were significantly higher than the average wage in Russia.The involvement of Chechens in this conflict represents a significant shift in history, as Chechens who once fought against Moscow are now deploying to Ukraine to fight on behalf of Russia. Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, has shown support for Russia in this conflict by investing resources into military training centers like the one near Grozny, where fighters undergo rigorous training.The Akhmat battalions, named after Kadyrov’s father, have been actively recruited to join the war effort in Ukraine. Some fighters, like Anatoly and Masyanya, joined the Akhmat battalions to escape their daily lives and earn money, while others, like Turpal, joined out of a sense of patriotism and duty.Fighters from the Akhmat battalions are better equipped than regular Russian soldiers and receive support from Moscow. Upon their departure for Ukraine, they shouted the Muslim expression “Allahu akbar!” and the Chechen war cry “Akhmat Sila!” to show their readiness for battle.In Bakhmut, Ukraine, the Akhmat forces have taken over a field hospital in underground tunnels once used to store sparkling wine. The hospital operates in these tunnels, treating the wounded from battles in the region while the streets above ground remain deserted and scarred by conflict.

MEMBACA  Tahanan Malaysia Mengaku Bersalah atas Persekongkolan dalam Bom Bali 2002