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Russia's Private Armies


Russia is financing the creation of private armies to destabilise Europe.

Back in March, it became known about the "security firm" created by Gazprom, which is another Private Military Company (PMC) funded by the Russian state budget. Putin sees the creation of private armies not only as a parallel military forces but also as an important component of the hybrid threat that will be directed against Europe. Numerous Russian PMCs (Wagner, Patriot, Redut anti-terror) take part in the war against Ukraine and are also seen in military conflict zones around the world. This is an important part of the promotion of Russian influence and in particular the realisation of the Kremlin's business interests. 

But now the situation has acquired a completely different nature: Russia is not just acting as a terrorist state, it has also become its sponsor, and the dominance of Russian PMCs in more than 30 countries around the world and their massive failure to comply with the laws of war, make these private armies the cells of international terrorism that threaten to destabilize entire countries. Putin sends Russian PMCs to fight in Ukraine, so that later such armies of trained assassins could move on to Europe.

In the summer of 2017, a video of the brutal execution of a Syrian soldier by Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group went viral: the man was tortured, beheaded, partially dismembered, and burned. This brutal killing marks Wagner mercenaries as terrorists on the same level as ISIS. Since the beginning of 2023, their numbers in Africa have fallen by about 10 percent, and the exodus continues. The mercenaries take an active part in the war against Ukraine and are gradually moving to the Balkans, with a view to settling in European cities. Putin sees their presence in the EU as a necessary part of a plan to destabilise Europe. A loyal army of thugs could easily destabilise the average country that the Kremlin chooses to target with such a hybrid threat. At least 500 Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group alone are estimated to be in the EU. Russia is also actively forming new PMCs: major state corporations are involved and are financing such armies.

Russia is cultivating terrorism, manifesting itself in creating and training PMCs to be used against the Western community. The Kremlin is failing in its war with Ukraine but is ready to go to war with the rest of the world through terror. The Russian economy must be systematically weakened - this is the main factor in suppressing such a threat. All individuals and entities in the Russian Federation involved in the creation and funding of PMCs represent an unprecedented threat to the West. They must be placed under sanctions, and Russia has to be recognised or what it is - a terrorist state that commits war crimes.

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