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Chechnya Leader Kadyrov: Look for Nemtsov's Murder Trail in Ukraine and the US

Kadyrov insists he had no reason to kill the rather marginal opposition figure. He says it was probably anti-Moscow Chechens in Ukrainian service who carried out the murder

This article originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov believes that Ukrainian special services could stand behind the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

"In my opinion, one ought to look for the trail of this crime not in Chechnya, but in Ukraine, SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) and subsequently in the U.S.," Kadyrov told Interfax on June 18.

"There are plenty of factors suggesting that Adam Osmayev, who today commands some Ukrainian 'Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion', stood behind this murder. His father, Aslanbek Osmayev, ordered my assassination back in 2004," the Chechen head said.

According to Kadyrov, Adam Osmayev "is working for Western special services as an 'errand boy' and knows very well how to get rid of a person who is causing problems."

"The murder masterminds themselves used Nemtsov, themselves eliminated him and are now trying to shoulder the blame onto someone else. They claim that I allegedly said once that it was necessary to kill Nemtsov. But it is a lie! Why should we kill him? What did he do wrong to us? Was he standing in my way? He had not come to us [Chechnya] for many years. The last time I saw him was 14 years ago in Gudermes," the Chechen leader said.

When commenting on accusations mounted against Chechnya's Sever (North) battalion deputy commander Zaur Dadayev, Kadyrov said: "His relatives and lawyers say that Zaur Dadayev was not on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge or anywhere near it at the time of [Nemtsov's] killing.'

"Dadayev was detained in Ingushetia and, as his defense team claims, was beaten up. His friend was with him, but they let him go. Dadayev confessed. I repeat that I learned this from his relatives and lawyers," he said.

When asked whether or not he knows the whereabouts of Ruslan Geremeyev, whom the media call a possible organizer of Nemtsov's murder, Kadyrov said: "I know Ruslan Geremeyev very well. We fought against terrorists together. I know him as a patriot of Russia, and, in my opinion, it is a mistake to accuse him of these actions."

"I do not believe that he could be involved in this. Indeed, I have heard in the press that he has gone away. But what do you think he should do in this situation? Should he, an innocent person, be sitting in a remand center together with Dadayev?" Kadyrov said.

"Obviously, he did not like this prospect. When everything becomes clear, Geremeyev will have an opportunity to confirm his innocence and sue those who maligned him. Certainly, I do not know all details of his alleged departure," the Chechen leader said.

In November 2014, the Primorsky District Court of Odesa, Ukraine, convicted Adam Osmayev of plotting a terrorist attack against Russian President Vladimir Putin, but released him in the courtroom after agreeing that the term of two years and nine months that Osmayev had already spent in pre-trial custody was sufficient.

It became known in February 2015 that Osmayev had become the commander of the so-called "Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion" fighting on the side of the Ukrainian army in Donbas. Osmayev's predecessor in this role was Isa Munayev, who was killed by artillery fire near the Ukrainian town of Debaltseve on February 1.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported in March, citing a Federal Security Service (FSB) source, that Osmayev is the main suspect in masterminding the murder of opposition politician Nemtsov. According to the newspaper, one of the persons arrested as part of this inquiry, Zaur Dadayev, was "closely connected" with Osmayev, who had met Dadayev and had spoken to him over the phone on numerous occasions.

Nemtsov was shot and killed on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in the center of Moscow on February 27.


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