Ramzan Kadyrov, Russia's Chechen regional leader and a strong ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Monday that Russian forces would attack not only the besieged port of Mariupol, but also the capital Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.
Kadyrov said in a video posted on his Telegram channel:
Not only Mariupol will be attacked, but also other places, towns and villages.
He added: Luhansk and Donetsk, in the first place (we will release them completely) ... then we will take Kiev and all other cities.
According to Reuters, Kadyrov, who often describes himself as Vladimir Putin's "infantryman", stressed that Kiev should not be doubted. Kadyrov said:
I assure you that you will not take a step back.
According to the report, Moscow fought two separatist wars in Chechnya after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but has since poured large sums of money into the region and given Kadyrov a lot of power.