The war in Ukraine. Private armies come to the fore

Special Forces are not something unusual for a Polish reader. Remember from the lessons of history special forces, often larger than the Royal Army, the rich poles. The mighty frontier poles could have appeared, according to some estimates, like known from “fire and sword” Prince Wiśniowiecki, even several hundred armed. Today, just in time The war in UkraineLarge families may also use special forces to defend their estates on the borders of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

I did it at first The Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 Ukrainian pole Ihor Kolomoisky. Following the example of the former Polish magnates, in the news of the Russian army, he organized powerful protection, supporting the Ukrainian army with millions of hryvnias from private property and, according to media reports, by financing the creation of his own forces. .

It is estimated that the cost of creating a private militia during the Russian invasion of Crimea reduced Kolomoisky’s budget by an amount 10 million dollars. This was the cost of equipping and organizing, as well as paying several thousand people under the gun.

Kolomoisky was not the first wealthy man to do something similar by organizing private militias. Dictator during the Libyan war Muammar Gaddafi Also at one point, in a somewhat desperate gesture, he began funding troops to stop the Western coalition of forces seeking to destroy him.

Today is to go the same way RussiaThe Syrian mercenaries were offered several hundred dollars a month to participate in the fighting on the Russian side. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad According to media reports, she was supposed to help organize the transfer of tens of thousands of mercenaries to support the Russian army.

It can be said with confidence that the modern battlefield is, among other things, mercenaries. Both private military companies and companies operating as government contractors, as well as self-financed branches.

If Prince Jeremy Wiśniowiecki was alive, he would have plenty to choose from. at the same United State The market is worth billions of dollars. According to some estimates, Washington issued in 2007-2012 $160 billion for contractor services. PMCs protect diplomatic posts and sensitive places in areas prone to military operations, as well as assist in the evacuation of civilians.

PMCs earn huge amounts of money. In 2014, several market entities merged. According to rating agency Moody’s, as a result of the merger of Academi (formerly black water) with many companies in the industry A giant earns nearly a billion dollars a year.

US military companies operate in Iraq and Afghanistan where they are needed to protect US political interests. Unfortunately, that happens sometimes Mercenaries commit crimes against civilians. This is what happened in many scandals related to Blackwater. For example, dozens of contractors have been convicted of massacres of civilians in Iraq.

The Russian army also uses the services of private military companies. The most famous here is the so-called Wagner Group. The company founded by a former colonel in the Russian army, linked to the Russian military intelligence, participated in the invasion of Ukraine from the very beginning, since the occupation of the Crimea, and the public can also follow its activities in Syria.

There was a group of Wagner mercenaries that clashed with the American forces. The regular US army that supports the Kurdish militants has eliminated the Syrian-Russian forces.

Neither the Americans nor the Russians alone own their own security or military institutions. For example, little is said about the capabilities of Chinese security companies. Meanwhile too Chinese Communist Party Invests in outsourcing security services.

According to the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies, Chinese security companies operate in 40 countriesPractically without attracting anyone’s attention. They operate wherever Chinese law prohibits direct action by the People’s Liberation Army.

Until 2009, Chinese law prohibited the use of private military and security companies. Currently, there are dozens of the latter. According to industry analysis, there are several thousand private security companies in mainland China alone, and at least 20 of them operate abroad, dealing with the protection of strategic facilities related, for example, to the construction and development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese security companies will still have to take direct military action like their American or Russian counterparts such as the Wagner Group, but it may be a matter of time. They are already in Africa, where China is intensively trying to strengthen its position, and in Central Asia. In addition to protecting diplomatic missions or facilities related to Belt and Road development, police training issues have also been raised.

Given China’s expansion in Africa or attempts to build a foothold in South America, we can also expect an increased presence and activity of private security firms from this region. Are the next steps taken by the military companies?

Jan erański

*Educated lawyer, passionate freelance journalist. He writes on Asian, legal, cultural, technological and civilizational topics. Published in “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna”, “Rzeczpospolita”, “Magazyn Pocisk” and “Nowa Konfederacja”.

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