Reports out of German newspaper Bild am Sonntag are claiming Ukraine’s government has hired 400 American mercenaries from Academi, formerly Blackwater Worldwide, to lead military operations against eastern protesters.
Rumors of Academi subsidiary Greystone’s involvement in the crackdown are nothing new, but the report suggests the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, has actually confirmed that involvement, and informed Chancellor Angela Merkel weeks ago.
The transition from Blackwater to Xe Services to Academi was a long and winding road, but the taint of Blackwater’s notorious involvement in the Iraq War has followed the company every step of the way, meaning its involvement in Ukraine would be particularly controversial.
Academi issued a statement in March disavowing reports of their involvement in the Ukraine, blaming them on “irresponsible bloggers.” They have not issued any further statements, however, and speculation continues to grow.
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