Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov demanded that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky renew public apologies to him over a 2014 joke, Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel on the evening of July 18.

Back in 2014, Zelensky’s comedy TV show Kvartal 95 used footage of Kadyrov crying during the 10th anniversary of the death of his father in a comedy skit. Zelensky publicly apologized to Kadyrov soon after the show aired, saying it was an unfortunate choice of material.

But a 2018 interview of Zelensky resurfaced in June, where Zelensky recalled the incident and apologized to Muslims, not Kadyrov, saying he was “sorry if this video hurt someone’s religious feelings.”

Kadyrov took it as downplaying the apologies, and thus demanded that Zelensky re-apologize to him, calling Zelensky “dishonest and cunning not only in your words, but also in your election promises.”


“You will have to be firm in your position and confirm your apologies,” Kadyrov wrote.

Calling himself  “an infantryman” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kadyrov also called the Kremlin’s war in eastern Ukraine a “civil war,” hinted that Zelensky is a puppet of the U.S. and said that he should reach out to Putin to end the war.

Zelensky’s office couldn’t immediately answer to the Kyiv Post’s request for comment.

Kadyrov’s verbal attack on Zelensky comes at the time when Ukraine and Russia are negotiating to schedule the next Normandy Format meeting among the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany.

The next meeting is set to take place in Berlin, but Russia’s representatives have been reluctant to schedule it. The format has been the main platform for negotiating peace in the Donbas, where Russia wages a proxy war against Ukraine since March 2014.

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