As if facing off with Ukrainian troops on the frontlines isn’t deadly enough for Moscow’s forces, they’re now killing each other in mass brawls, according to reports.

What happened?

The National Resistance Center of Ukraine (CNR) which helps coordinate partisan activities in Russian-occupied parts of the country, claims a fight broke out over the weekend between Chechen forces fighting for Putin and a regular unit from Russia’s Dagestan republic.

According to the center’s sources in the underground, a team of Russian propagandists arrived in the village of Mykhailivka in the Vasylivka district of Zaporizhzhia to make a film about a high-ranking Chechen official.

Things didn’t quite go to plan and around 8 p.m. in the evening, a fight broke out between the Chechens and the Dagestanis.

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The CNR said: “During the quarrel, one of the occupants opened fire in the air from a small automatic weapon.

“In the course of the fight, one of the occupiers was inflicted with numerous stab wounds, incompatible with life.”

What does “incompatible with life” mean?

Fatal.

This unfortunate incident inevitably led to an escalation in both the hostilities and the weapons being used.

“This led to an open confrontation between units using under-barrel grenade launchers GP-25 Koster hand grenades and small automatic weapons,” the CNR reports.

Who won?

Well in this sort of situation where units ostensibly on the same side start killing each other, there aren’t really any winners but apparently the Dagestanis came out on top after a very bloody battle.

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The CNR adds: “On both sides, 20 Russian servicemen were killed in action, and more than 40 were wounded.

“The commander of the [Chechen] unit (probably with the rank of colonel) was sent to the front lines as punishment.”

The CNR's report has not been independently verified.

Tell me more about the Chechens and Dagestanis

Soldiers from Chechnya are under the overall command of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic.

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Kadyrov has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine and his battalions have fought alongside the Russian forces there.

Human rights groups have accused Kadyrov of overseeing a “totalitarian” regime that uses kidnappings and torture in Chechnya.

Chechen forces were the topic of the British Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence assessment, which said: “In an online post on August 10, 2023, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov acknowledged the efforts of the Chechen Vostok Akhmat Battalion in the heavily contested Orikhiv sector in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

“Kadyrov’s comments highlighted the continuing role of one of the premier Chechen units in this key area. Vostok officially comes under the command of the Southern Military District’s 42nd Motor Rifle Division which has been active around the village of Robotyne.

Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine. Kadyrov likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist.”

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As for the Dagestanis, they are from the Russian Republic of Dagestan, one of the poorest regions of the country where forced conscription rates have been particularly high.

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