Technicaly, Russian law officially prohibits its citizens from signing-on with any private company to be sent overseas as mercinaries. But the Russians don’t exactly make a secret that private security firms in the former-Soviet Union are answerable directly to the Moscow government.
So how do the sons of Mother Russia get around the mercenary prohibition law? Easy… just sign-on as “consultants” with the Kremlin government. As reported by the Reuters news service in 2017, “Oleg Krinitsyn, owner of private Russian firm RSB-group, said he sent the contractors to eastern Libya last year and they were pulled out in February having completed their mission.”
Also noted by Reuters, “Asked whether the mission had official blessing from Moscow, Krinitsyn said his firm did not work with the Russian defence ministry, but was “consulting” with the Russian foreign ministry.”
There must have been an awful lot of consulting going on between Moscow and Caracas. Between Putin’s dream of having air and naval bases on the South American continent, and Maduro filling his pantaloons with the brown stinky stuff, Reuters is also reporting that upwards of 400 mercenaries are already in Venezuela;
Private military contractors who do secret missions for Russia flew into Venezuela in the past few days to beef up security for President Nicolas Maduro in the face of U.S.-backed opposition protests, according to two people close to them.
Yevgeny Shabayev, leader of a local chapter of a paramilitary group of Cossacks with ties to Russian military contractors, said he had heard the number of Russian contractors in Venezuela may be about 400.
Russia’s Defence Ministry and Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not respond to requests for comment about the contractors. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We have no such information.”
The contractors are associated with the so-called Wagner group whose members, mostly ex-service personnel, fought clandestinely in support of Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine, according to Reuters interviews with dozens of contractors, their friends and relatives.
The contractors’ task in Venezuela was to protect Maduro from any attempt by opposition sympathisers in his own security forces to detain him, Shabayev said.
“Our people are there directly for his protection,” he said.
The last time both Russia and the United States officially acknowledge American forces coming into contact with Moscow-lined mercenary quasi-soldiers, Reuters reported almost exactly a year ago that a US airstrike in Syria resulted in approximately 300 Russians killed or wounded.