Jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have this week threatened to take control of the Russian autonomous Republic of Chechnya in a video addressed to President Putin.
The radical Islamist group who are active in Syria and Iraq have claimed that they will bring the majority Muslim region of Chechnya under control of their self-proclaimed caliphate after Russian-built aircraft were captured in Syria.
“This message is addressed to you, oh Vladimir Putin. These are your aircraft which you sent to Bashar, and with the help of Allah we will send them back to you,” states one militant in the video. During the video militants go on to claim they will ‘liberate’ Chechnya and all of the Caucasus.
The captured aircraft mentioned were obtained by ISIS militants after a Syrian air base was brought under their control, leading to the execution of over 200 Syrian government soldiers.
Although the video is in Arabic some claim that a Russian accent can be heard off-camera, leading some to speculate that a Chechen Islamist was involved in the threat. It is thought that several radical Islamic Chechens have joined ISIS, including Omar al-Shishani, a high-ranking member of the group who is also know as ‘Omar the Chechen’.
The threats of an attack on Chechnya are unlikely to be taken seriously by Russian authorities, who supported Syrian government efforts to bring their country under control by supplying military vehicles. The captured aircraft, thought to be outdated Sovier-era jets, are likely to remain unused as it is thought that the ISIS militants do not currently have anyone trained enough to operate them.
The video, which was shared online earlier this week, created outrage among many Chechens, including Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
“Those bastards have nothing to do with Islam” claimed Kadyrov. “They are enemies of Muslims everywhere”, he wrote earlier this week on his Facebook page.
In response to the video Russian officials authorised their media watchdog to ban and remove all versions of the video found online.