Chechen strongman confirms man beheaded by ISIS was Russian

 Chairwoman of the Russia's Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko talks to Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov.
Chairwoman of the Russia's Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko talks to Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov.PHOTO: EPA

MOSCOW (AFP) - Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on Thursday (Dec 3) confirmed the man executed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group in a recent video was a Chechen from Russia but dismissed claims he was a Russian spy.

"This Russian is a Chechen. He was decapitated. These are confirmed facts," Kadyrov said in comments on his official website.

The strongman leader of the majority-Muslim region in Russia's North Caucasus vowed to avenge the death of his compatriot, saying he was most likely framed as a Russian spy.

In the video released Wednesday (Dec 2), the prisoner wearing an orange tunic and trousers speaks in Russian, confessing to being recruited by Russian intelligence to spy on ISIS and its Russian members.

He is then beheaded. It is the first video from the ISIS group to show the apparent execution of a Russian since Moscow began air strikes in Syria to support the Syrian government.

"He who kills a person from our country, he should not live. We will send him to the next world, we'll give him a one-way ticket," said Kadyrov.

"I don't believe that he was working for someone (Russia) because from the way he was talking, the way he was sitting, it looked like he was set up," Kadyrov said.

Chechnya is one of the Russian regions that is a source of ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq. One of the ISIS top commanders, Omar al-Shishani, is an ethnic Chechen.

Kadyrov, who has been accused of using heavy-handed tactics including torture on his opponents, has lashed out against the ISIS on numerous occasions and pointedly calls it the "Iblis State", from the Arabic word for "devil."