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Bishkek (AKIpress) - Chechnya’s regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Wednesday that he hasn’t sent any troops to fight alongside pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine, but he says some Chechens may have gone there on their own, The Washington Times reported.
Fighters who looked like residents of the Caucasus were seen among pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, where they have seized government buildings and fought with Ukrainian forces. Ukraine and the West have accused Moscow of fomenting the unrest, but it has denied the claim.
In the most ferocious battle yet, rebels in Donetsk tried to take control of its airport Monday, but were repelled by Ukrainian forces using combat jets and helicopter gunships and lost dozens of men. Some insurgents said up to 100 may have been killed.
The city remained tense Wednesday, with Ukrainian fighter jets flying overhead. Some gunshots were heard.
Last week, Kadyrov negotiated the release of two Russian journalists arrested by Ukrainian forces and accused of assisting the rebels in the east. The Chechen leader gave no details how he managed to have the journalists freed.
He stressed that he fully supports Putin’s policy to help restore peace in Ukraine.
Putin has denied Ukraine’s allegations that Russia has sent its special forces to foment the mutiny in the east. On Tuesday, Russia’s Federal Security Service rejected the Ukrainian claim that a convoy of vehicles loaded with weapons attempted to break through the border earlier in the day.