There are Russian private security companies independent of the Russian government that are active in Sudan, admitted Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova in a press conference on Wednesday.
Zakharova complained that the western media are still heavily engaged in an anti-Russian campaign based on what she calls “misinformation”, referring specifically to an article in the Times which reported that Russian mercenaries had been involved in suppressing protests in Sudan. The spokeswoman called the article “an irresponsible approach” and “political provocation”, asserting that its facts do not match the actual situation.
In connection with this, she admitted that there are Russian private security companies operating in Sudan, but stressed that their work there is limited to training personnel for the local law enforcement agencies and military. She emphasized, also, that the companies have no connection to the Russian government.
In November, news came out that a lawsuit had been filed at the International Criminal Court against the organizers of Russian private military companies. The suit was filed by a number of Russian military and veteran organizations, who claim that Russian citizens are being deceived and taken to “hotspots” (the Donbas, Syria, African countries) as mercenaries, even though mercenary activity is prohibited by Russia’s Criminal Code. When the Russians are killed there, nothing can be proven, because officially they are there as “volunteers”. According to the claimants, the deaths number in the thousands. At the time, the Kremlin declined to comment on the information.
Previously Bloomberg reported with reference to its own sources that the paramilitary organizations believed to be connected to St. Petersburg restaurant tycoon Yevgeny Prigozhin are trying to “spread Russian influence” to 10 African countries. According to the sources, the Russian private military companies have a presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Libya, Madagascar, Angola, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic. Prigozhin himself has not commented on the allegations.