Amid military setbacks in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has promoted the authoritarian ruler of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, to colonel general.

The decree on his appointment has already been published, and he is "incredibly grateful" to Putin for the "great appreciation," Kadyrov wrote in the Telegram online service on Wednesday.

Colonel-General is the third highest rank in the Russian Armed Forces, behind Marshal and Army General.

The Kremlin praised Kadyrov's "heroic contribution" to the offensive in Ukraine on Monday.

The Chechen President has been intensively involved since the beginning.

Chechen units are fighting alongside Russian forces in the country.

Among them is Kadyrov's notorious personal militia, known as "Kadyrovtsy".

Kadyrov announced on Monday that he would send three adolescent sons to fight in Ukraine.

The youngsters between 14 and 16 years old, Achmat, Selimkhan and Adam, are ready to use their trained combat skills in the "military special operation", Kadyrov wrote on Telegram on Monday.

"And I'm not kidding.

(...) Soon they will be sent to the front and will be in the most difficult sections of the contact line.” He also published a video showing his sons at target practice.

Brutal management style

Kadyrov, known for his brutal leadership of Muslim-leaning Chechnya in the North Caucasus, has emerged as one of the most ardent supporters of war since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He has also long had a reputation for circumventing Russian laws with no consequences.

After Russian defeats, he has repeatedly sharply criticized his country's military leadership and called for far-reaching consequences.

Recently he even spoke out in favor of considering the use of nuclear weapons with lower yields.

In addition, Kadyrov had criticized another colonel general, Alexander Lapin, for his role in the fighting for the city of Lyman, which was recently captured by Ukrainian forces.

When asked about Kadyrov's harsh criticism of the course of the war, which Moscow continues to refer to as a "special military operation", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday only: "The regional heads have the authority to express their point of view and to make assessments." At first he did not comment on the soldiers.

The Chechen ruler has been criticized by international non-governmental organizations for years because of his administration, which is characterized by serious violations of human rights.

Prior to his current appointment as colonel-general, Kadyrov had already been promoted to general three times - each of the armed forces of the interior, the police and the national guard of Chechnya.