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Mercenarism is Punished in Europe but Promoted in Russia

Radu (Radion) Kirilov in a gang group 'DPR' in Donbas. Picture from social network profile. [1]

Radu (Radion) Kirilov in a gang group ‘DPR’ in Donbas. Picture from social network profile.

The day before, Moldovan informational resources, citing the Prosecutor General’s office,  informed about the sentence, given to the citizen of Moldova, 23-years old Radu Kirilov. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison for participating in the ‘Sparta‘ illegal armed formation, which was fighting in the Eastern Ukraine as a part of united Russian-separatist forces. Prosecutor’s office informs that the Moldovan citizen participated in the armed conflict in Donbas and was getting money for that.

Notably, the reason for arrest of Radu (Radion) Kirilov on November 5, 2015, in Kishinev airport was a suspicion that he had taken a direct part in fights in the East of Ukraine as a mercenary. The basis for suspicion was received from the online resource of our partners from ‘Myrotvorets’ center, who have added the data about Kirilov [2] based on his social network profiles back in March, 2015. The starting point was his interview given to the Allmoldova [3] resource, which was then turned to a real propaganda material titled “Radion Kirilov: I fight in Ukraine on behalf of Moldova”. Just so that the reader understands the informational absurdity and propaganda content of this article, we will present few fragments in their context. It is also necessary to note that the resource had in advance secured itself by adding a disclaimer “Author’s point of view may not correspond to the point of view of the editors”, what left the whole responsibility for lies and propaganda to Radu Kirillov.


“<…> It was really scary in Semenivka. No matter that a non-flight zone was announced, they (Armed Forces of Ukraine – note by Allmoldova) have scrambled more than 40 helicopters to the air and were fighting us. But we got through this, because we are Russians” – says Radion, who has problems speaking Russian <…>”.

“<…> Answering the question whether he saw mercenaries himself he answers that he did:

“One we captured a wounded American sniper. We encircled him. When he realized that there was no way to escape, he started yelling: «Help me! Help me! Help me!»

As Radion says there is no Russian conscripts or Russian contract servicemen in his native battalion, but there are volunteers from Russia, who went to defend the borders and to help their brother people because of their ideals, not money <…>”.

Of course, those who know about the war in Donbas not only from the Russian media, will known that all those presented citations are absurd, but these exact contrasts are used to teach young Moldovans the idea of ‘noble fight’, which is then supported with financial rewards and epic stories about the ‘victory of the Russian weapon’.

Radu (Radion) Kirilov in a 'DPR' gang group in Donbas. Picture from social network profile. [4]

Radu (Radion) Kirilov in a ‘DPR’ gang group in Donbas. Picture from social network profile.

Later, after prosecution, the propaganda pathos of Radu Kirilov was changed to pragmatic specifics. He told [5] that he had received a proposal from a mercenary from Rostov-on-Don (Russia). He also said that some foreign participants of ‘Novorossia militia’ used Moldova as a transit point before they were sent to Rostov-on-Don for training.

Europe has recently felt the burden of dangerous Russian propaganda. Criminal cases against citizens, who had decided to become ‘soldiers of fortune’ in another country, were started in a number of European countries. According to the Information fron Security Service of Moldova, 3 people were arrested in the ‘Kishinev’ international airport in early November; Radu Kirilov, born in the town of Yaloven and prosecuted in December, was among them. Two others are residents of Transdniestria – Aleksandr Skripkar and Dmitriy Obolentsev. They possibly can be sentenced to 3 to 7 years in prison. As Moldovan informational resource Noi.md informed [6] before that, many people from Moldova have participated in the armed conflict in Ukraine. One of them is 21 years old Moldovan citizen, who has fought as a part of ‘Somali’ terrorist group under the ‘Academic’ callsign. He was arrested on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border [7] in May of 2015 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

It is possible that Radu Kirilov decided to cooperate with the prosecution and received a minimal term because of that. ‘Academic’ was less lucky, and that will make him stay in jail for a substantial part of his life.

A screenshot from the video where the French citizens, militants of the Russian international 'Essence of Time', protest against arrest of their comrades [8]

A screenshot from the video where the French citizens, militants of the Russian international ‘Essence of Time’, protest against arrest of their comrades

But Republic of Moldova is not the only state which sentences mercenaries and terrorist supporters who have fought in Donbas. In the result of a special operation conducted in Gijon, Madrid, Cartagena, Pamplona, Barcelona, Alcorcon and Caceres on February 27, 2015 [9], the Spanish police arrested 8 citizens who had participated in the war in Donbas on the Russian-terrorist side. The arrested were blamed for murders, weapon and explosives storage, and for activities against Spain’s interests. In April of 2015 a citizen of Kazakhstan got a three year jail term for fighting in the ranks of armed formations of ‘DPR’. According to the investigation [10], a resident of Atyrau town crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border within a platoon of mercenaries and arrived to the field camp of ‘DPR’ armed formations where he later conducted warfighting missions in the hybrid war against Ukraine.

8 people in Serbia were convicted for involvement in the war in Donbas – they also became victims of the Russian propaganda and decided to defend the interests of ‘the Russian world’ in the territory of Ukraine.

This list of criminal cases linked to mercenarism in the war in Donbas is far from being complete.

As you can see, the Russian Federation is not in this list, but it is a direct supplier of weapons, equipment, mercenaries and even military personnel involved in the war against Ukraine. The InformNapalm international volunteer community for the last 18 months has conducted a huge number of investigations and structured information about the Russian career servicemen and military units identified in the Eastern Ukraine. The results of these efforts can be found in this database [11]. All the investigations of our community are based on the open source intelligence and everyone can on his own re-check all the provided information (videos, photos from the servicemen’s profiles, georeferencing by photos and maps, etc) following the investigation algorithm. In their turn, the volunteers of our partner ‘Myrotvorets [12]‘ Center have gathered the largest database of mercenaries and separatists.

The retention of a Moldovan mercenary Radu Kirilova proves that gathering and structuring of data from social networks is a pretty effective tool of countermeasures to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and other countries.

Guillaume Lenormand, the citizen of France, is a 'Russian world' militant in Donbas. Photo from his social profile [13]

Guillaume Lenormand, the citizen of France, is a ‘Russian world’ militant in Donbas. Photo from his social profile

Foreign ‘soldiers of fortune’ recruited by Russia’s secret services can be of serious hazard to their native countries as well. This could have been mentioned by Guillaume Lenormand [14], a French nationalist and ‘Russian world’ fighter, who fought in the ‘4th LPR territorial battalion Prizrak’. In the interview to Gazeta.ru [15] media he said that ‘A more brutal war than in Donbas is coming to France‘.

But Europe has not yet fully realized that the war in Donbas was started by Russia not only to draw Ukraine into its geopolitical orbit, followed by an attempt of the imperial revenge on the ruins of the Soviet Union, but also as a base for further destabilization of the EU, followed by aggression against the West. Tolerance for the Russian propaganda machine will result in much more troubles with the ‘Russian world’ militants than with ISIS fighters (at the same time in experts’ opinion, ISIS has a lot of agents of the Russian special services). Mercenaries who received combat experience as a part of joint Russian-separatist forces, can become soldiers in new hybrid wars and operations of the Kremlin. Therefore, the role of Ukraine in this confrontation between Russia and the civilized world is to create an outpost, which will unite the axis of Intermarum into one powerful structure of the military-political cooperation. And this is sure to be an outpost with the most modern and strong army in the world – the army that is able to effectively restrain the Russian horde.

Read also: Russian Private Military Companies As Licensed Tool of Terror [16]

PWC-en [17]

(CC BY 4.0) 

Original article [18] by Roman Burko [19], translated by Max Sviezhentsev, edited by Stepan Grishin