A Chechen warlord and a close advisor to the region’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov was killed Saturday in Ukraine as Russia continues its invasion of the country. Russian human rights groups have said the advisor had been involved with the persecution of LGBTQ+ people.
Magomed Tushayev was killed during the battle at Antonov Airport — known also as Hostomel Airport, according to the Washington Blade. The facility is an international cargo airport and sits northwest of Kyiv.
Tushayev led the “141 motorized regiment” of the Chechnya National Guard. His death was confirmed by the Ukrainian news outlet the Kyiv Independent and a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
On Saturday, a video of Kadyrov appeared online where he boasted of Chechen victory in Ukraine, Al Jazeera reports. He said Chechen soldiers had entered Ukraine and that Russia’s military could easily take Ukraine’s largest cities.
“As of today, as of this minute, we do not have one single casualty, or wounded, not a single man has even had a runny nose,” Kadyrov said, rejecting what he called false reports of casualties that came from Ukrainian sources. “The president [Putin] took the right decision and we will carry out his orders under any circumstances.”
The Blade notes that Tushayev had directly been involved in persecuting LGBTQ+ people in Chechnya. That includes a role in 2021 in the kidnapping of activists and gay man Ibragim Selimkhanov, who was taken from a Moscow subway station and forcibly sent to Grozny, Chechnya’s capital.
Selimkhanov was reportedly interrogated by operatives working for Tushayev. The activist was questioned about his connections to other human rights activists and journalists who were working to help queer people in Chechnya.
For years now, LGBTQ+ activists have reported that Chechen officials in the Kadyrov regime, including Tushayev, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being queer, and have held them in detention centers for days while they are humiliated and tortured.