Police forces from the United States and Canada have been scolded after competing against police units that are involved in the invasion of Ukraine at the Swat Challenge Games in the UAE.
Police units from Chechnya and Belarus appeared at the Swat Games alongside forces from around the world, including the New York Police Department (NYPD), San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) from Texas and Canada’s London emergency response unit (LU).
The appearance of police forces from leading NATO countries alongside a Chechen unit, that is said to have committed the worst atrocities during the war in Ukraine to date and remains active in the conflict, has drawn the ire of commentators.
According to The Guardian, Professor Mark Galeotti, who is an expert on Russian security and organised crime, said: “I don’t know of any similar cases of US police participation in events alongside teams from Russia, let alone a unit from Chechnya active in Ukraine.
“I would have expected US pressure on the police forces to voluntarily pull out.”
One of the publication’s sources, claimed it was “embarrassing” for US special units to be part of a competition alongside the Chechen group.
The source reportedly said: “Obviously it is bad for US law enforcement to be at the same events. This is embarrassing optics-wise given accusations about what Akhmat units did.”
The Chechen force in question is the Akhmat Kadyrov special unit. The unit is named after the father of the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, and is deeply embedded in the war in Ukraine.
The unit was reported to be instrumental in the siege of Mariupol, where targets included a maternity hospital.
The Akhmat is led by a man called Zamid Chalaev. Chalaev is currently under US sanctions for what happened in Mariupol, “including the transfer of Ukrainian children to camps in the Chechen Republic”.
According to the Guardian, the NYPD and LU declined to comment. However, the SAPD wrote back to the publication, saying: “Each participating country has their own geopolitical history and are not taken into consideration by participating teams.
The purpose of events like this are for the best in the world to showcase their skills in the spirit of competition, much like the Olympics.”