Russian Mercenaries Won’t Make a Bad War Worse

Russian Mercenaries Won’t Make a Bad War Worse
Russian servicemen ride a military vehicle along a road near the border with Ukraine, in Crimea, Russia (Sputnik photo by Konstantin Mihalchevskiy via AP).

News headlines this week warned that Russia is recruiting mercenaries to scale up its operations in Ukraine. Some 16,000 fighters from Syria and other Arab states have already volunteered, joining the hundreds of Russian mercenaries that were already reportedly operating in Ukraine. The whiff of guns-for-hire was seen as a sign that an even more ruthless phase of the conflict may be ahead. But considering how states have used privatized force in the past, it seems unlikely that mercenaries will introduce any risk factors that could make the conflict much worse than it already is. That says something both about the current state […]

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