Ramzan Kadyron, the head of the Chechen Republic, has vowed to strike against Islamic State (IS) after it was confirmed that a man beheaded by the terrorist group this week was from Chechnya. In an internet video released by IS, 23-year-old Magomed Khasiev from the Chechen capital, Gronzy was beheaded by a jihadi fighter.
Before the beheading, Khasiev, appeared to confess to having arrived in IS-controlled territory on assignment from Russia's Federal Security Service, the FSB, and was operating undercover. Today (3 December) Kadyrov, confirmed that the man killed by the jihadists was an ethnic Chechen and he will seek to avenge his murder.
In the video he says he was operating in both Iraq and Syria gathering intelligence on IS. One of the jihadists threatens both Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the release. Russia has been conducting air strikes against IS targets in Syria as well as targeting the Free Syrian Army which are at odds with President Bashar Al-Assad's forces in the West of the country.
"Yes, he was Russian-Chechen, he was beheaded. There are proven facts," Kadyrov said according to Reuters. "Whoever killed that man won't live for long."
Kadyrov has taken a strong position against the militants, also known as Isis or Isil, offering Chechen units to the Russian Army to help combat the militants in the Middle East. In November he called on Muslims to unite and crush IS.
In July, Kadyrov claimed that IS is funded and armed by the West in an interview with Russian Tabloid Life News. He said "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."
Kadyrov has also had his own problems with IS closer to home, Aslan Byutukayev, the leader of a Chechen terrorist group, declaring his loyalty to IS commander-in-chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
The Chechen ruler, a Muslim himself, said on Monday he was happy with Putin's stance in the Middle East earlier this week, he said on Instagram: "The President spoke tough on international terrorism against him by certain forces ... From Moscow today sent a clear signal to those who think that Russia can maintain some games."