Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Islamic State (Isis) is funded and armed by the West in an interview on the threat posed by the jihadist group in Russia.
Speaking to Russian tabloid Life News, the strongman leader of the Muslim region in southern Russia said that IS received backing from the West and its allies so did not attack them.
"They [IS] sell oil, earn from it. But who is the buyer? Militants are getting money and weapons from modern Western countries. Therefore, they do not attack America, Europe and even Israel. They attack those countries which are home to Muslims.
"I have always said that the risks to Russia are much stronger than those to America," said Kadyrov.
Hundreds of Chechnyans are believed to have joined IS in Iraq and Syria, and Chechnya's largest terrorist group, the Caucasus Emirate, pledged its allegiance to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in June.
Kadyrov though said that IS poses no danger to the Chechen region, and the Chechen people know the "true intentions" of the group.
Earlier in July, Kadyrov blamed the West for creating IS, which has used child executioners, to discredit Islam. Russian state-owned media outlets and pro-Kremlin trolls have also disseminated the conspiracy theory that the West created IS in propaganda campaigns.
However, in comments to Sputnik news agency, Kadyrov condemned the group, and said that the Chechen government had organised a comprehensive strategy to counter Isis propaganda.
"We have…very well prepared experts, Islamic scholars, who are deeply aware of how dangerous it [IS propaganda] is, who know what Quran says about them, what the hadiths of the Prophet say. We should unite with them, hold conferences, youth meetings, dialogues. We should work a lot to stop this evil," he said.
The Russian government estimates that approximately 400 Chechnyans have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join IS, though others place the figure at more than double that number. IS' Chechen commander Omar al-Shishani reportedly promised to attack Russia, and militants have pledged to 'liberate' Chechnya from Russia in propaganda videos.
Kadyrov has previously walked a fine line, seeking to bolster support among Chechen Islamists by all but banning alcohol and supporting polygamous marriages in contravention of federal law, and also placating his backers in Moscow by ruthlessly suppressing Islamist terror groups targeting Russia.