Ukraine: French Photographer Confirms U.S. Mercenary Presence

By B (Moon of Alabama)

The U.S. military newspaper Stars & Stripes laments about Rumors of American mercenaries in Ukraine spread to Germany:

The chancellor’s office and the German intelligence service have declined to either confirm or deny, a development that leaves an atmosphere of doubt in a country where tensions are rife about just how angry Germany should be at Russia’s actions in Ukraine

The report is about the second German government leak to the tabloid Bild we identified as an attempt to distance Germany from U.S. policies in Ukraine:

These “leaks” must have come from the chancellery and, them being true or not, confirm that there is some antagonism in the central political and security branches in Berlin towards the U.S. plans.

The leaks may have more truth in them than I had assumed. Paris Match, a well regarded weekly French magazine, investigated the recent incidents in Krasnoarmeysk in east Ukraine where some para-military gang disrupted the vote on more autonomy for the region by killing two supporters of the federalists. It finds photographic evidence that the gang was led by functionary from the fascists paramilitary Right Sektor:

These images show Andrey Denisenko, one of the Pravy Sektor chiefs, among a group of mysterious gunmen that attacked a voting station Sunday in the small town of Krasnoarmeysk, some 60 kilometres from the separatist « capital », Donetsk. After occupying the local town hall for several hours, the militiamen shot down point blank one local civilian, and killed two other unarmed protesters.

These Pravy Sektor thugs were hired for the “special battalion Denjpr” of the newly created “National Guard” and are paid by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi.

But there is an even bigger scoop in this story.

Jerome Sessini, an experienced war photographer for Magnum who has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, was in Krasnoarmeysk and made some very interesting observations:

Several witness also said they heard some of the gunmen speaking with strong western Ukraine accents. They also noticed that some of the gunmen appeared to come from the Caucasus area, possibly mercenaries from Chechnya. Other gunmen never spoke a word and seemed foreign to the region. French war photographer Jerome Sessini spent about an hour face to face with the gunmen before they opened fire. « I found that their general attitude and their very precise techniques gave off the impression that they were American mercenaries, or people trained by American mercenaries » said Sessini.« I can’t guarantee this for sure, but I’d give it a 95 per cent, » added the photographer, who frequently interacted with various U.S. security contractors during his years covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A long time ago, when I took part in martial arts competitions, I could tell which dojo my opponents had learned at just by watching their warming up rituals. Someone who’s longtime profession is to observe, identify and document people at war should surely be able to categorize special forces he interacted with along the “schooling” and attitude those have.

As U.S. interest, especially in gas fields in Ukraine, become more apparent it is certainly not inconceivable that U.S. mercenaries were hired by this or that interested oligarch or three-letter-organization to transform the local Ukrainian rag-tag fascist gangs into some usable militia for the suppression of civilian opposition protests.

Now Sessini’s observations move the validity of the German government leaks to Bild from the “not inconceivable” realm into the “likely happening” one.

Update: Some of Jerome Sessini’s photos from Krasnoarmeysk, including those showing the killings, are now up at Time magazine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.