The loss of the strategic city of Limán, in the territory that Moscow considers its own after the annexations staged on Friday, once again raised criticism in Russia. One of the harshest was that of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadirov, who over the weekend called for the use of "a low-yield nuclear weapon" in Ukraine. The Kremlin responded on Monday by moving away from a position it described as "emotional."
Dimitri Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, considered that Kadyrov's call came under the influence of "emotion", something that Russia's military strategy should not be guided by, which must have a "balanced approach". .
The Kremlin prefers to be more cautious. "This is a very emotional moment. The heads of the regions have the right to express their opinion," he told reporters. "But even in difficult times, you have to exclude emotions. We prefer to make measured and objective assessments (of the situation)," he told reporters.
Peskov, however, avoided criticizing Kadyrov, a close ally of President Putin. On the contrary, he praised his "heroic contribution" in the military campaign against Ukraine.
Faced with the withdrawal of Russian troops from Liman, Kadyrov on Saturday advocated "more radical measures" in Ukraine by Russia, including the use of "low-power nuclear weapons."
It is not the first time that the Chechen has openly criticized the Russian strategy in Ukraine and his country's military commanders for being too soft. A few weeks ago, after the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive that recaptured much of the Kharkiv region, he suggested that the generals were not explaining to Putin what the real situation was on the ground.
“Yesterday there was a stop in Izium (town of Kharkiv), today the (Ukrainian) flag is in Limán. What about tomorrow?” the Chechen leader wrote on his Telegram account this Saturday. "In my view, more radical measures should be taken to the point of declaring martial law in the border territories," he concluded.
The Kremlin has made it clear that the four provinces that Russia is annexing will be included within its "nuclear umbrella": Donetsk, to which the city of Liman belongs; and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine; and Kherson and Zaporizhia, in the south.
But Peskov pointed out that its use is enshrined in Russia's nuclear doctrine. It allows them to be used if nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction are being used against Russia, or if the Russian state is facing an existential threat with conventional weapons. "There is no other consideration when it comes to this," the spokesman noted.
Kyiv announced on Sunday that it had recovered Liman, which represented an important logistics center for the Russian army deployed in Ukraine. But it also means that Ukrainian troops can now enter Luhansk province, and head towards Lisichansk and Severodonetsk, the last cities that Russia took in July to consider the province fully controlled.
On the other hand, Kadírov surprised again this Monday with a new announcement. The Chechen chief said that he will send three of his teenage sons to fight in the Ukraine.
For them "the time has come to shine in a real battle, and I can only salute their determination. They will soon go to the front and find themselves in the most difficult areas of the line of contact," he wrote on his Telegram account, referring to his sons Ajmat, Eli and Adam, who are respectively 16, 15 and 14 years old.