September 28 (Reuters) – Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he discussed his region’s contribution to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine during talks with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that came at a sensitive moment in relations between the two sides.
Kadyrov has ample latitude from Putin to ruthlessly run Chechnya as his personal fiefdom, but he angered even pro-Kremlin hardliners this week when he praised his 15-year-old son for beating an ethnic Russian prisoner being held in Chechnya.
Kadyrov posted on Telegram that he and Putin spoke about a range of topics, including the role of Chechen fighters in Ukraine. He added ironically that “other issues” had been raised, and promised “more on this later.”
It was not clear whether he was referring to the beating incident that occurred last month, in which his son, Adam, kicked and punched a prisoner named Nikita Juravil, who was accused of burning the Qur’an.
Kadyrov posted a video of the attack on Monday and said he was proud of his son for defending his Muslim faith.
The alleged Quran burning incident did not occur in Chechnya, but Russian investigators said they transferred Zhoravil to Chechen custody because Muslims there consider themselves victims of the incident.
Abbas Galliamov, a former Kremlin speechwriter who is now Putin’s harshest critic, said this week that the beating opened the door to accusations that Putin had handed over an ethnic Russian “to be eaten by Chechens.” Even pro-Kremlin commentators described the incident as a scandal.
Rumors spread this month that Kadyrov (46 years old) was in serious health condition in the hospital, but he laughed and flexed his muscles when a Russian TV reporter asked him about his health.
Kadyrov has publicly considered handing over power at one point, and has highlighted the importance of his three teenage sons, the eldest of whom was photographed with Putin in the Kremlin in March.
Ensuring stability in Chechnya is crucial to Moscow, which has fought two brutal and costly wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union to prevent it from secession.
Reporting by Mark Trevelyan, editing by Alexandra Hudson
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