Head of the Chechen Republic and close Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov posted a lengthy response to the Russian military performance online, lashing out at the commander responsible for the region and suggesting a nuclear response may be in order.
His social media rant explains that the commanding officer, Colonel-General Alexander Lapin, is incompetent and should be removed from his position. As a result, the use of "low-yield nuclear weapons" may solve the problems the Russian military is facing. Ukrainian troops have swept across the northeastern from taking large plots of territory, as well as the logistical hob of Lyman.
Ramzan Kadyrov. (Reuters)
On his Telegram channel, Kadyrov posted the following;
"I have always said: there is nothing better than the voiced truth, albeit bitter, offensive, but the truth. This is the only way to move forward. Therefore, I cannot remain silent about what happened in Krasny Liman.
The defense of this section was led by the commander of the Central Military District, Colonel-General Alexander Lapin. The same Lapin, who received the star of the Hero of Russia for the capture of Lysychansk, although de facto he was not there and was not around. Lapin was also given over to the troops of the Western Military District.
The colonel-general deployed mobilized fighters from the LPR and other units on all frontiers of the Liman direction, but did not provide them with the necessary communications, interaction and the supply of ammunition. Two weeks ago, Major General Commander of the Akhmat Special Forces, my dear BROTHER Apty Alaudinov, personally reported to me that our fighters could become an easy target. In turn, I informed Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, about the danger. But the general assured me that he had no doubts about Lapin's leadership talent and did not believe that a retreat was possible in Krasny Liman and its environs.
A week later, Lapin moves his headquarters to Starobelsk, a hundred kilometers from his subordinates, while he himself sits in Lugansk. How can you quickly manage units, being 150 km away from them? Due to the lack of elementary military logistics, today we have left several settlements and a large piece of territory.
It's not a shame that Lapin is mediocre. And the fact that he is covered at the top by the leaders in the General Staff. If I had my way, I would have demoted Lapin to the rank of private, would have deprived him of his awards and, with a machine gun in his hands, would have sent him to the front lines to wash away my shame with blood.
Army nepotism will not lead to good. In the army, it is necessary to appoint people of a strong character, courageous, principled, who worry about their fighters, who tear their teeth for their soldier, who know that a subordinate cannot be left without help and support. There is no place for nepotism in the army, especially in difficult times.
We didn't have enough raisins? Even then, I said: shoot at the enemy’s military concentration in the Izyum captured by the Nazis, especially since our artillery at that time had such an opportunity. They would have done away with the main Satanists and fascists at once. We must carry out [the special military operation] in the full sense of the word, and not flirt. Use every opportunity and every weapon to defend OUR territory. Donetsk is still being shelled. Residents of the joined 4 territories want to be protected.
I don't know what the Russian Defense Ministry reports to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, but in my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons. It is not necessary to take every decision with an eye on the Western American community - it has already said so and done a lot against us.
Yesterday there was a parade in Izyum, today a flag in Liman, and what tomorrow? Everything would be fine if it weren't so bad."
Russian nuclear-capable missiles on display during the parade commemorating the victory over Germany in WWII. (Getty Images)
The tirade shows a division in the Russian elite that has been rumored to be growing in the country from the top for a while. Following the mobilization order, something Western sources call an act of desperation, the Russian military has moved units of under-trained and ill-equipped troops into Ukraine to serve in the "special military operation."
While an internal coup in Russia is highly unlikely, the pressure of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, such as Kadyrov, could alter the course of the war. With the referendum signed, this may allow Putin an offramp to end combat operations as we see now and begin to rebuild the Russian war machine, using lessons learned.
Mobilized troops sent to the front are unlikely to be an effective offensive force, but large amounts of riflemen are enough for the defense. With a stabilized front, the "partial mobilization" can slowly and quietly morph into a total mobilization as more and more people are brought into the military to fill new vacancies and reconstruct a broken ground force.
Kadyrov with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP)
Ukraine, also taking heavy losses, is unlikely to be able to break through this wall purely due to numbers and the laws of offense and defense operations. However, if any weakness in the line is found, the attack is on. This could lead to the use of Kadyrov's low-yield nuclear weapons.
However, these weapons, due to their more controllable after-effects, could be used as more of a warning shot than an outright strike. Deployed in a remote area or against an isolated target could signal to the west that Moscow is serious about the use of nuclear weapons. An act may force Kyiv to the table and get the Kremlin what it wants; solid gains, a star on Putin's legacy, and something to show the people in Russia that have largely only seen coffins.
The use of a low-yield nuclear weapon could also be below the threshold of forcing NATO's hand into becoming a party to the war. It may not warrant a full response, something the West has strained itself to commit to. Being the largest of "salami slice tactics," it would signal a new age in Russia-NATO relations.
Cover image from Yelena Afonina/TASS