US private military contractors targeted in Ukraine – Russian MoD
The Russian military has targeted deployment points of American private military contractors and those of Ukrainian ‘neo-Nazi’ units, inflicting heavy casualties, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
“During the fighting near of the village Zaytsevo of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the 24th nationalist battalion ‘Aidar’ of the 53rd mechanized brigade lost more than half of its personnel,” the Defense ministry said in a daily briefing. The remnants of the battalion have been withdrawn from the frontline, it added.
Russian forces have also conducted strikes on Ukrainian hardware, personnel and some 47 artillery units across more than 120 locations. “In particular, deployment points of foreign mercenaries with the American private security company Academi and the nationalist unit Kraken [were hit] near Kramatorsk and Nikolayevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the military said, without elaborating.
The reference is presumed to be to the Constellis private security group, which was created in 2014 after Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) was absorbed by its rival, Triple Canopy. The defense ministry did not provide any estimates on the potential casualties suffered by the mercenaries and ‘neo-Nazis’ with the Kraken unit.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.