MOSCOW – The head of Chechnya has allowed local security forces to open fire on Russian federal troops if they operate in the region without his approval.
Ramzan Kadyrov's Wednesday comments send a worrying sign about a potential rift between him and the Kremlin.
Following the killing of a Chechen man this week at the hands of security forces from a neighboring region, Kadyrov on Wednesday told his forces they can open fire on troops from other regions if they operate without his approval.
In exchange for generous Kremlin funding and the relative calm he has installed in Chechnya, Kadyrov has been allowed to build a security force of his own which has ruled the land for more than a decade. Moscow has largely ignored rampant abuses including torture and extrajudicial killings.