Private military companies: why Ukrainians are ready to fight, but not in the Ukrainian army

Частные военные компании: почему украинцы готовы воевать, но не в украинской армии

In Ukraine can receive private military companies (PMCs) who are allowed to work only outside the country. Until recently, this idea did not go beyond public debate and a couple of pending bills. But last week talking about it and President Vladimir Zelensky.

He noted that the process of legalization of private armies can attract veterans. What threats and benefits assumes the creation of a PMC to the material of RBC-Ukraine.

At the meeting of the Advisory Council of veterans of war June 5, Zelensky said that there are two bill on PMCs which have not yet been registered in the Parliament and need to be strengthened. What documents are you talking about, he said. However, in February the Deputy from “public Servants” Olga Wasilewska-Smaglyuk submitted to the Parliament a draft law “On military-consulting activities”.

Since the document is actually gets piled up in Parliament and voted on. The same fate befell his predecessor – a similar project was submitted to the Parliament of last convocation the Deputy Valery Karpuntsov. Despite the heated discussions and the support of individual veterans ‘ organizations, the question of legalization of the Ukrainian PMCs was shelved.

Competitive environment

One of the key provisions of the document that is already in the Parliament, is the creation in Ukraine of the national Commission, which will issue licenses to private military companies. These firms could provide military and security services of other countries (except Russia), to physical and legal persons.

Among other things, we are talking about advising and training security forces of other countries, as well as providing them with “personnel, logistical, financial and analytical support.” It is planned that all arms and ammunition of the Ukrainian private armies will be registered in the public registry. The main point – the PMC can not be used on the territory of Ukraine.

The global market for such services former MP Karpuntsov estimated at $ 200 billion. He is confident that the adoption of the law on private military consulting can bring significant income to Ukrainian budget and assist in employment of veterans of the war in the Donbass. But, according to him, the idea of the “blocked foreign competitors”.

“We are not just about US talking, we’re talking about all those countries who see Ukraine only a raw materials appendage. Those countries that are not interested in Ukraine moving. Our neighbours see that we are very competitive, especially in the military sphere”, – he said in comments to RBC-Ukraine.

Karpuntsov said that foreign States do not want to lose not only the “harvest market”, but also the opportunity for a low amount to recruit Ukrainian specialists and illegally using them in military conflicts.

President Vladimir Zelensky said that one of the existing bills do not impose any restrictions, because you need to develop a balanced document, perhaps with the assistance of veterans. “This bill is about making the other business group could officially make for themselves a private army. And this is very dangerous,” he said.

Olga Vasilevskaya-Smaglyuk (“servant of the people”) believes that the President’s Office ignores her bill allegedly “under pressure from Western countries”. According to her, Ukraine and so are working illegally for at least five military companies, registered on the territory of other States.

“I understand that this law is not beneficial to our competitors from the USA, UK etc., where PMCs have been legalized many decades. It is no secret that many embassies are very much troubled that will disappear their projects to attract our people in the naval exercises, which are in fact a springboard for the promotion of our best military experts to work in other States,” – wrote the MP in Facebook.

Publicly lobbying for the legalization of PMCs and the former commander of army special forces, now a Deputy Secretary of the NSDC Serhiy Kryvonos. In addition to material benefits for the state, he sees a moral dimension to this issue.

“We have tens of thousands of people returned from the front, but in civilian life proved useless. Although it is not those who defended this society, have to adapt to it, and society should support them. PMC is a lightning rod, which will help veterans who failed to realize themselves, to continue to do what they know how to do it efficiently, get paid for it and the recognition of the state,” he said in an interview with “Facts” in February.

According to statistics of the Ministry of veterans, a year ago in Ukraine there were almost 370 thousand combatants. While until recently the soldiers of the volunteer units such status and support from the state was received with great difficulties. Not all of them were able to find something in civilian life. Often in the criminal chronicle and in connection with serious crimes are heard the names of former volunteers.

Gray business

Experts, has long studied the PMCs, pay attention to the risks that Ukraine will face in legalizing the “private army”. In particular, the General-the major of SBU Igor Guskov, who was involved in intelligence analysis and collection of data about the participation of Russian PMCs in international conflicts, and now continues this work in the “Ukrainian center for intelligence and security.”

He stressed that the global business for the protection of cargo, military consultations and Maritime transport have been divided. Because Ukrainian companies can only offer to engage the fighters directly in direct conflict on the territory of the belligerent countries.

“We can only offer cheap and willing to risk his life labor. This can cause our representatives not finding their place in the market legal use of PMCs under international law, will go into a semi-legal field. For example, as in the war in Yemen, where there are semi-legal of the company, and in fact it is the “wild geese” who just scored for money to fight” – explained RBC-Ukraine the former head of the SBU.

Guskov says that at this time, the composition of both Russian and Western PMCs are fighting hundreds of citizens of Ukraine. In particular, according to him, the SBU owns the data about 86 inhabitants Russia-occupied Crimea, participated in the PMC “Wagner.”

In addition, he pointed out the dubious legality of the recruitment and the participation of Ukrainians in the military operations of the French foreign Legion, especially in the territories of other States (1 may 2020, a soldier of the Legion, Ukrainian Dmytro Martyniuk was killed during a military operation in Mali, ed.).

The analyst said that before the legalization of private military companies necessary to settle the question of criminal responsibility for mercenary activities in Ukraine. Now, for such actions as the fighter and his recruiter can receive up to 10 years in prison.

Military expert, Director of information and consulting company Defense Express Serhiy Zgurets said about another aspect. Good financial conditions offered by private companies, can become a temptation for military APU.

“The threat to the army that there will be “sucked” normal frames. Long time I had been thinking about how to keep human resources in the APU. PMC will add a degree of competitiveness to our high-level officials pondered what to do with the Armed forces, because we have begins to flow to the morale of the army, due to the fact that people with enough experience begin to leave troops”, – explained the expert comments RBC-Ukraine.

The US and Russia actively use private military companies in those matters where there is direct state intervention. “The death of the representative of the PMC is perceived less painful than the death of a soldier” – as a military expert explained the relevance of mercenaries by governments of different countries of the world.

According to the SBU, the PMC “Wagner”, coordinated by the Main intelligence Directorate of the Russian General staff of the armed forces. This structure is used to solve point problems in local conflicts. For example, in the Donbass, in Syria and now in Libya.

American company SILVERCORP, according to its founder Jordan Gudra, in March this year undertook a daring but unsuccessful military operation to overthrow the President of Venezuela.

Zgurets said that the establishment of military companies – a global trend, and Ukraine will not be able to stay by his side. Moreover, hundreds of citizens of Ukraine and so fighting in “hot spots” in the composition of foreign military structures. The question is, can the government effectively control the mercenaries, so they do not become a threat within the country.

Vladimir Zelensky
The government