The appeal specified that Russian mercenaries “are taking part in conflicts in the Donbass, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Gabon, North and South Sudan, Yemen and other countries of Asia and Africa” and that they have taken losses in these conflicts “numbering in the hundreds.”
Shabayev pointed out that in July, the PMC employees had appealed to the Presidential Administration calling on the Kremlin to legalize their status so that they could gain the protections of others who are fighting for Russia. The Kremlin turned that over to the defense ministry which refused to budge, labelling the PMCs “anti-constitutional.”
As a result, PMC employees who are fighting in Syria and elsewhere, he says, are at least formally engaging in illegal actions, even though they are doing what the government has contracted them to do.
Today, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stayed with that position, saying that “in Russia, there are no PMCs de jure” and that as a result, he would not comment on their appeal to the Haag but could say that “the issue is not on the agenda” of the Kremlin now ( ).
The PMC appeal and the Kremlin’s stonewalling is only going to increase attention to this issue and to Putin’s close involvement with it, especially now that his good friend Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “the chef,” is on an African tour of the countries where his PMCs are involved ( ).