Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya's strongman leader, was flown to Moscow and hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, Russian state media reported Thursday.
Kadyrov is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who installed him as head of the Chechen Republic in 2007. The Tass news agency said Kadyrov has "suspected coronavirus" and is "currently under medical observation." Baza, an online news outlet, said Kadyrov arrived in Moscow on Wednesday after his flu-like symptoms became worse, and he has sustained lung damage.
Since he came to power, a cult of personality has developed around Kadyrov. He has been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and murder, and does not have a clear successor, The Guardian reports.