Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he had not heard of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk having fought in Chechnya in the mid-1990s but says he is a "coward and traitor" who is "incapable of fighting."
Kadyrov said on September 10 that although he has never met Yatsenyuk, he is a "real nerd" and he does not consider him to be a "warrior."
Kadyrov was reacting to allegations made by Russian Investigative Committee head Aleksandr Bastrykin on September 8 that Yatsenyuk had fought in Chechnya with a group of Ukrainians against Russian forces in 1994 and 1995 during the first Chechen war and had tortured and executed Russian soldiers.
Yatsenyuk’s spokeswoman, Olha Lappo, responded to the allegation by “encourag[ing] the Russian regime to undergo a psychiatric evaluation."
University professors said they remember seeing Yatsenyuk, 41, on campus at Chernivtsi University in western Ukraine celebrating New Year's in 1995, the same time that Bastrykin said he took part in a battle in Chechnya.
Bastrykin was ridiculed on social media after making his accusation against Yatsenyuk.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Investigative Committee is working on the allegations about Yatsenyuk and that "such claims are never hollow."