Ukraine to Set Up Private Military Companies

Ukraine to Set Up Private Military CompaniesUkraine to Set Up Private Military Companies

Leader of Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Right Sector and Ukrainian parliamentarian Dmytro Yarosh is going to submit a bill to the country’s parliament on the creation of private military companies. Yarosh suggested this could be a way out for servicemen who have developed a condition called ‘war syndrome.’

“The people who can’t get back from war in their heads can be used in various spheres [of life], in freight convoy; in fact, what the private military companies are doing,” the Ukrainian news agency quoted Yarosh as saying on Sunday.

Private military companies (PMC) are privately owned companies which provide armed security services, referring to their staff as “security contractors” or “private military contractors.”

The hiring of mercenaries has been a common practice in the history of armed conflicts but was prohibited by the United Nations Mercenary Convention. In 2001 the United Nations adopted a treaty that outlawed the recruitment, training, use, and financing of mercenaries.

However the United Kingdom and the United States are not signatories to the convention, and the US has rejected the UN’s classification of PMCs as mercenaries.

In 2014, German media reported that up to 400 elite mercenaries from the notorious US private security firm Academi (formerly Blackwater) were taking part in the Ukrainian military operation in the east of the country.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper cited a source in intelligence circles as saying that Academi employees were involved in the Kiev military crackdown on pro-independence fighters in the Donetsk region.

  Prisoner Exchange Suspended

The exchange of prisoners between the Kiev forces and the independence supporters of Donbas will be suspended until the issue of the establishment of working groups on the implementation of the Minsk agreements is solved, a negotiator for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said Sunday, sputnik reported.

In mid-February, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine hammered out a deal in the Belarusian capital of Minsk aimed at ending the military conflict between Kiev forces and the independence supports of eastern Ukraine.

The deal reached in Minsk envisaged a ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy arms from the line of contact in Donbas, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and certain amendments to Ukrainian constitution.

It also stipulated the establishment of the working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. According to the point 13 of the new Minsk deal, the composition of these units must reflect that of the Trilateral Contact Group.

“Prisoner exchange has to be suspended until an official decision is taken regarding the personal composition of all of the working groups on the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” Denis Pushilin said as quoted by Donetsk news agency.

Pushilin added that there should be a total of four groups: on economy and recovery, on refugees and humanitarian assistance, on constitutional reform and elections and on security.

The DPR negotiator said that the working group on refugees and humanitarian assistance should handle the prisoner exchange and help resolve the current differences regarding the numbers of captives to be exchanged and the order of such swaps.

The conflict in Ukraine’s southeast started in April, 2014 when Kiev launched a military operation to suppress independence supporters of Donbas. According to UN estimates, the conflict claimed more than 6,000 lives.