Federal troops or Kadyrov’s gunmen: who attempted on life of the commander of Dudayev’s battalion in Kiev?
On June 1 in Kiev a killer shot Adam Osmayev, commander of the battalion named after Dzhohar Dudayev. His unit participated in the war in Ukraine against Russian troops. The attempt on Osmayev’s life could be undertaken by either Chechen authorities or Russian secret service, as Mikhail Shubin reports.
Two Makarov pistols and Glock
On May 23, a man introducing himself as Alex Verner, a correspondent of the French Le Monde newspaper, called Adam Osmayev and his wife Amina Okuyeva, who also serves in the Dudayev battalion. The journalist referred to the Shuster Live’s guest producer Alexei Stukalo. He confirmed to Okuyeva that Verner had actually been a French reporter.
“He video recorded all our meeting, asking provocative questions about Ukrainian policy and warning that we’ll be killed as soon as Russian and Ukraine re-establish good relations, citing the Interpol information. We argued with him” Okuyeva recalled later.
After the very first “interviews”, Okuyeva started to suspect that the man could not be who he wanted to look like. She said the killer looked like a European intellectual man, speaking lightly accented fluent Russian. “The journalist” told Okuyeva he had learned Russian while studying in St-Petersburg.
The fourth meeting the journalist set up on June 1 in downtown Kiev at 5 p.m. They met in Osmayev’s jeep. While talking, Verner produced a box (“a present for the Le Mond”), opened it and drew a Glock from there. He immediately opened fire on Adam.
Okuyeva, who also carried a Makarov pistol with her, also shot four times to the attacker. The Makarov choked up and Okuyeva attacked Verner with her fists. The man pledged for mercy and fell on the ground.
In grave but stable conditions
The wounded men were hospitalized in a Kievan hospital No17. The doctors estimate their conditions as grave but stable. Police are guarding the hospital and watche that the attacker would not commit suicide.
“Verner” carried a Ukrainian passport issued in the name of Alexander Dakar, born 1958. He also has got a travel passport which, in the words of Foreign Ministry’s official Anton Gerashchenko, has been forged. The official said the attacker had frequently visited Russia “to obtain instructions”.
The passport used by “Verner” belongs to a resident of Odessa who has died in 2001. Police do not comment on Verner’s real ID.
“The suspect has been detained, hospitalized and under active investigation. I wouldn’t focus on his identity as it will be defined by legal means”, police chief Sergei Knyazev said.
The Ukrainian Espresso-TV said the killer was Artur “Dingo” Kurmakayev (Denisultanov). Okuyeva confirms that too.
In 1990, Denisultanov was convicted to two years in prison for extortion. In February 1991 he was released under an amnesty.
In 1998, he and his accomplices attempted to kidnap the director of Kolpino food factory, demanding the ransom of $300,000. When surrounded by police, Denisultanov rammed their cars and escaped to Kharkov, but was extradited back to Russia.
According to one version, he was convoyed to St-Petersburg but the criminal case was closed for some reasons. In 1999, Denisultanov was swapped for a Russian soldier captivated by Chechen rebels thanks to the mediation of Denisultanov’s uncle Salman. The exchanged was approved by the Russian Prosecutor General’s office, and Demisultanov left for the town of Argun in Chechnya.
According to another version, Demisultanov was arrested on April 21, 2000 in St-Petersburg for kidnapping, extortion and an attempt on a policeman’s life. But he was released during the court hearing at the end of 2000 as a person exchanged for a Russian serviceman, and so falling under the amnesty declared in December 1999.
In 2001, Denisultanov married a sister (or a daughter) of a businessman Kiyam Kurmakayev and assumed her family name.
In 2009, Demisultanov was mentioned in the media as a possible accomplice in the murder of Kadyrov’s former bodyguard in Austria. In March 2011, Dingo was sentenced to eight years for stealing 7.5 mln rubles from his acquaintance. It remains unknown how he left the prison and made it to Ukraine in 2017.
Soon after the incident in Kiev, journalist Alexander Nevzorov aired a brief news about cars hijackers in St-Petersburg. In that video, Demisultanov (referred as “Artur, a member of a local Chechen group”) tells about several car thefts.
Video: Nevzorov. What killers are made from
Attempt on Putin and Kadyrov
Osmayev was born in Grozny to an influential Chechen family. His uncle was a chair of the Chechen Supreme Council in 1995. In 1996-1998 he headed a chamber in the republic’s People’s Assembly and was a Russian senator the same time.
Since 1999, Osmayev studied in the UK but left the university due to poor results. In Britain, he got acquainted with other Chechens, presumably the Wahhabis, who taught him military mining.
On May 9, 2007, the FSB averted a terror attack in Moscow. The operatives found a car filled with 20 kg of explosives, Kalashnikov, 20-liter can of petrol and boxes filled with destructive agents. The car was designated for a life attempt on Ramzan Kadyrov.
Osmayev and three other suspects were arrested but released due to lack of evidence. He immediately escaped: according to one version, to the UAE, to another - to the UK. In Russia, he was put on the international warrant list and arrested in absentia. In 2009, one of the defendants was pleaded guilty of preparation for a life attempt on a statesman and sentenced to eight years. The second one was sentenced to five years for illegal possession of arms.
In February 2012, Osmayev was detained in Odessa on charges of organizing an explosion which had killed a Russian citizen Ruslan Madayev and wounded Kazakh national Ilya Pyanzin. Pyanzin was later arrested and charged with the preparation of the explosion. The Ukrainian special services claimed they had prevented an attempt on then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Pyanzin was extradited to Russia. He refused to cooperate with investigators and in September 2013 was sentenced to 10 years in a high-security prison for the preparation of the attempt on Putin.
Ukrainian court also ordered the extradition of Osmayev, still his lawyer appealed to the ECHR. The extradition order was suspended and in August 2014 revoked.
Still, Osmayev was sentenced for illegal handling of explosives and destruction of property due to negligence, but he was cleared of terrorism charges. Spending three years behind the bars, he was released on Nov 18, 2014.
Soon after that, he joined the battalion named after Dudayev which took part in an armed conflict with Lugansk and Donetsk self-proclaimed republics on the Ukrainian side. The battalion was manned mostly with the Chechens who had emigrated from Russia. On Feb 1, 2015, the unit’s commander Isa Munayev was killed in action. The command was taken over by Osmayev.
Ramzan Kadyrov declared that Munayev’s murder had been masterminded by Ukrainian Security service and CIA and implemented by Adam Osmayev and Amina Okuyeva. “(Munayev) was a drunkard incapable for warfare. he ‘d never been a warrior and a real man. A real warrior, a Chechen, a man would never fly from a combat leaving his commander behind, like Munayev did”, Kadyrov said.
In June 2015, Kadyrov also blamed Osmayev of the murder of Boris Nemtsov and claimed that Osmayev’s father “ordered him” yet in 2004.
The Dudayev battalion has still been participating in the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine.
Who ordered a hit of Osmayev
According to Anton Gerashchenko, the investigation will consider all versions of the attempt on Osmayev, including the Chechen trace “which the Russian propaganda and its Ukrainian handymen will whip up”.
The other possibility is that the attempt on Osmayev has been a well-thought and organized by the Russian special services, he added.
Gerashchenko’s colleague Ivan Varchenko believes that the killer exercised Kadyrov’s order, as Osmayev has clearly been exercising the anti-Russian and anti-Putin sentiments.
Two weeks before the incident, Okuyeva said they had constantly been receiving information about preparations to assassinate them by the Russian and Kadyrov’s special services. After the incident, she said she has been suspecting the Russian special services of the life attempt.
Video: Kadyrov about Osmayev and Okuyeva
Okuyeva published on Facebook a video showing Kadyrov, who calls Osmayev his personal enemy.
“Let me be blunt: no one in Chechnya wants Mr Osmayev. Perhaps, he needs to be talked about, and the latest events just confirm that. The leadership of Chechnya has more important tasks to implement. This is just another provocation against Russia, Chechnya and Ramzan Kadyrov”, Chechnya’s information, press and external communications minister Dzambulat Umarov said one of these days.