Western mercenaries used to fill Kiev’s expertise gaps, ex-CIA man tells RT
Ukraine is likely experiencing a shortage of soldiers capable of operating complex Western weapons systems, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has told RT. A Russian report this week about a strike on “French mercenaries” in Kharkov may be a warning to would-be clandestine arms technicians that Paris plans to supply, he believes.
In response to the Russian Defense Ministry's statement, France has denied having mercenaries in Ukraine or any other part of the world. Moscow claimed that approximately 60 foreign fighters, mostly French, were killed in the long-range attack. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to supply additional air-launched SCALP cruise missiles to assist Kiev in its fight.
“I strongly suspect that many of those French ‘mercenaries’ – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brits and Americans scattered in there as well – are being brought in to help operate systems that they’ve been trained on previously in prior military careers,” Johnson said.
He named the US-made long-range Patriot anti-aircraft missile and the Storm Shadow, the British counterpart to SCALP, as examples of donated arms that may require competent foreign staff to deploy.
France is making itself a target by openly arming Kiev, Johnson told the broadcaster, contrasting current events with how the US acted in the past, when it sought to undermine the USSR.
“When the US ran covert operations through the CIA to fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets, it was done with some measure of secrecy and at least keeping up a pretense that we were not directly in conflict,” he pointed out.
“I think Russia sent a very clear message in killing these mercenaries: If you are going to send them over here, if you are going to send that materiel, we’re gonna kill you,” the analyst added.
Johnson believes that Moscow could have acted in a far bolder manner in targeting Ukraine’s foreign donors, and that its reluctance to do so has been taken in the West as a sign of weakness.
“It’s not that, but the West has a track record of misinterpreting Russia on many points,” he commented.