Several European media outlets have written about Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen warlord who has sent his militia to Ukraine. He has cultivated a reputation for ruthlessness and for slavish devotion to Putin. The members of his militia pride themselves on their brutality.

According to witness statements collected by Ukrainian investigators and journalists, Kadyrovites in black and green uniforms have been behind some of the worst atrocities and human rights violations in towns such as Bucha, including against children….

“The Kadyrovites have very little to do with Chechen values,” says Christopher Swift, a national security lawyer and specialist on Russia and the Caucasus. “They’re a bizarre amalgam of very conservative Islamic ideas out of the Middle East and slavish devotion to the Putin regime.”

During the Russia-Chechen wars, his father Ahmad first fought the Soviets, then switched sides and became Putin’s favorite. After the Russians demolished Chechnya’s cities and gained control, Ahmad was elected president of the pacified Chechnya in 2003. He was assassinated a year later.

The younger Kadyrov, who had been a militia leader, immediately adopted Putin as a sort of father figure, and took over as president as soon as he turned 30 in 2007.

His governing skills were threadbare, but his militia – the Kadyrovtsy – specialised in killing and terrorising unarmed civilians, serving as his extrajudicial praetorian guard.

He keeps control over Chechnya with an iron fist, aided by what he himself has estimated as $3.8bn in annual subsidies from Moscow.

The U.K. Express ridiculed the warlord by posting a claim that he wore £1200 Prada boots into battle. The Express also wrote that the Chechens were poor fighters, lost hundreds of men, and departed for Chechnya. (None of these allegations have been verified).

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being assisted by the Chechnyan military as it enters its fourth week. President Ramzan Kadyrov – a long-time ally of Putin’s – offered his support at the conflict’s outset. But despite facing violent incursions from the two nations, Ukraine appears to have humiliated the invaders several times and are said to be shattering the myth of the hardman Chechen dictator famed for persecuting homosexuals.