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Pro-Russian Chechen units presence in Ukraine: UK intelligence report

Pro-Russian Chechen units presence in Ukraine: UK intelligence report Pro-Russian Chechen units in Russian army fighting against Ukraine (Photo:Getty Images)

Pro-Russian Chechen units currently number about 9,000 fighters in the war against Ukraine, according to the UK Ministry of Defense.

These pro-Russian Chechen forces have been engaged in combat with Ukraine since 2014. Additional Chechen formations were deployed to Ukraine at the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022.

However, suffering heavy losses from the outset, Chechen units were primarily relegated to rear security and ridiculed as TikTok soldiers for their social media posts. After the withdrawal of the Russian private military company Wagner from the front in May 2023, Chechen units were forced back to the front lines, as stated in the report.

According to British intelligence, Chechen special forces units bear the brunt of combat operations on the front lines, while the main part of Chechen forces continues security operations in rear areas.

In addition to providing live force, another key contribution of Chechnya to Russia's war against Ukraine is the training of Russian soldiers. According to Chechnya's leadership, approximately 42,000 Russian military personnel have undergone training at the Russian Special Forces University in Gudermes (Chechnya) since 2022. However, it is quite likely that personnel only undergo training at the university for up to 10 days, which raises doubts about the effectiveness of the training and the institution itself, according to the UK Ministry of Defense.

Size of the Russian army in Ukraine

The Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksandr Pavliuk, stated that there are between 510,000 and 513,000 Russian military personnel in the occupied territories of Ukraine. According to him, the Russians intend to mobilize another approximately 300,000 soldiers. The Russian army loses between 25,000 and 30,000 personnel killed or wounded each month.

According to British intelligence, Russia has lost 465,000 soldiers since the start of the full-scale war.