A former Chechen commander wanted by Ukraine for alleged war crimes is leading the Russian earthquake relief effort in Turkey.
Daniil Martynov was in several locations in Ukraine last year in the early weeks of the Russian invasion. He is thought to be close to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and has been featured in several videos on Kadyrov’s official Telegram channel.
In recent days, he has given interviews to Russian media outlets from the earthquake zone in Turkey, after being appointed last year as an adviser in Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry.
Last August, the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, alleged that Martynov had committed a series of war crimes in the town of Borodianka, north of Kyiv.
The SBU described Martynov as the deputy head of the National Guard troops in the Chechen Republic and said he was “responsible for the training of Kadyrov’s personal security detail.”
The SBU alleged that Martinov managed the occupation of the Borodianka psychiatric hospital in March. It said that on his orders “almost 500 people were taken hostage (patients, staff and local residents), including more than a hundred bed-ridden patients.”
The SBU alleged that the hospital had been “turned into a firing position of the occupiers” and said that Martynov was accused of “violation of the laws and customs of war, and abuse of prisoners of war or civilians.”
There is no record of Martynov responding to the Ukrainian allegations. While dismissing the SBU accusations last August, Kadyrov said: “With regard to Martynov, he does not work for us. He’s working with the MES [Ministry of Emergency Situations.]”
Martynov was sanctioned in 2020 by the US Treasury Department for “serious human rights abuse in Russia.” It said he was “a personal security advisor for Kadyrov, [and] has acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kadyrov.” ��
CNN is reaching out to Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry for comment on Martinov’s role, as well as to the Ukrainian Security Service.