Academi denies its mercs are helping junta in Kyiv eliminate opposition
May 14, 2014
Earlier this week, Academi, the mercenary successor to Blackwater, told the German newspaper Zeit Online it does not have personnel on the ground in Ukraine assisting the junta in its effort to roll back opposition.
Bild am Sonntag, the largest-selling Sunday newspaper in Germany, reported last Sunday the presence of 400 mercenaries from the company were operating in Ukraine. The report followed an announcement in early May that the CIA and FBI are in the country assisting the regime.
Former CNN Intelligence Correspondent and current Vice President at Academi, Suzanne Kelly, told the German news website her company does not have personnel in Ukraine and does not plan to send any. She characterized media reports linking Academi to Blackwater as “incredibly irresponsible.”
Academi is in fact linked to Blackwater and its successor, XE Services. In December, 2001 The Washington Post ran a story with the headline “Ex-Blackwater firm gets a name change, again.”
Kelly’s less than forthright remark about the company also casts doubt on the assertion the mercenary firm is not assisting the coup government in Kyiv.
On Wednesday the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Russia has “very strong” suspicions about Academi inside Ukraine. Lavrov and the Russian government are demanding a response from the Obama administration on the issue.
“I sent a message from ambassador to Washington asking him to respond to these assertions from the German media,” he said during an interview with Bloomberg News, according to The Hill. “Rumors to this effect were spread even before and [Secretary of State] John Kerry rejected them. Now they popped up again, and we’d like to see whether this is true or not.”