Chechen Battalions Join the Ukraine Front Against a Familiar Enemy

For Chechens who join the Ukrainian front to fight against Russia: this war is personal. 

After suffering for decades under Russian control, some Chechens are taking up arms again, this time to prevent what happened to their country, from happening to their neighbors. 

Some of the commanders have lived through the First Chenchnyan War from 1994 – 1996 and witnessed first hand the brutality and destruction caused to their home and to their families. Through anonymous interviews, the leaders of these battalions speak of their first memories being hiding from Russian forces in basements with their family, or watching their neighbors be burned alive by Russian forces with flame throwers. To them, this is a chance to join Ukraine against their common enemy. 

Chechens are divided: some view themselves as loyal to Russia while the others are willing to lay their lives on the line to stop Russian aggression. To those who would fight so that others wouldn’t suffer in the same way they have, requires sacrifice and bravery that shouldn’t go unrecognized.

Chehens now fight on both sides of the war. 

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