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Kremlin pressed to legalize private military companies

As Moscow pulls out troops from Syria, Putin is pressed at home to legalize private military companies and come clean about Russain mercenaries' role in Syria.
The grave of Russian private military contractor Vladimir Kabunin, who was said to be killed in Syria, is pictured at a cemetery in the city of Orenburg, in the southern Urals, Russia September 20, 2017. Picture taken September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova - RC16FF2F0E80

Russian war veterans are demanding that President Vladimir Putin take adequate steps to legalize private military companies. In a statement sent to the Russian leader, the veterans demanded not only the legalization of these private soldiers, but also an official recognition that Russian contractors are involved in the Syrian conflict.

The veterans sent the document to the presidential administration as well as to Russia’s Supreme Court. The statement had been signed by a group of veterans, including retired Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the former head of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate General for International Military Cooperation (1996-2001); Vladimir Petrov, the head of the Honor and Homeland international public organization; and Evgeny Shabaev, the committee chairman of the Russian Officer Congress. The statement stressed that over the course of three years, veterans' organizations had been receiving complaints from soldiers wounded in Syria who do not have access to the government’s social, rehabilitation and economic support as they do not have any legal status.

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