The international volunteer community InformNapalm analysed the mechanisms for combating Russian hybrid armies. The conclusions were presented at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly back in 2018. Then, on the sidelines of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, representatives of Ukraine, citing facts from the report, insisted that certain mechanisms should be implemented to combat Russian hybrid armies. Four years have passed and the relevance of the issues raised then has only increased.

All things considered, the international community must stop pretending nothing is happening and develop a response that curbs Moscow’s appetites before it is too late. It is crucial to increase the pressure on the Russian Federation. It is also necessary to update the existing legal framework to counter the threat of Russian PMCs.

Report conclusions:

  1. There is an urgent need to create an international body that will establish uniform rules and ensure strict control over PMC activities. All PMCs in the world must obtain a special license and periodically undergo inspections and a demanding license renewal process. PMCs that do not have such licenses should be treated as illegal combatants.
  2. It would be reasonable to give a clear definition of the PMC in international law, in particular in the Rome Statute. Today, many illegal combatants escape fair punishment for their actions as they are disguised either as civilians or foreign volunteer fighters who receive no monetary reward.
  3. All countries must take a tough stand against mercenaries. The UN Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries has been ratified by only 35 countries and is largely unable to oppose new challenges. In most cases, the national legislation of individual countries also lacks effective mechanisms for bringing mercenaries to justice for their crimes.
  4. The world must join forces to stop this immoral and cynical business. Killing people for money must entail consequences of such force that would discourage the vast majority of mercenaries from participating in bloody missions. The mercenaries and their families should not receive any benefits from the war. Mercenaries should be prosecuted internationally; all assets they receive as a result of participating in wars must be confiscated by court ruling. Migration services should pay close attention to mercenaries who may be trying to hide from criminal prosecution abroad.
  5. The free world should increase economic pressure on Russia, Iran, and other countries waging hybrid wars using the PMCs and other paramilitary organisations. They seek dominance but with the sole purpose of preserving and consolidating their outdated, deeply corrupt, and inefficient regimes. It is the stability of these regimes that should become a target for aimed strikes of the entire international community.


Natalia Tolub

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