Wagner Group closes door for mercenaries born in Crimea, Donbas: BBC

A Russian paramilitary company known as the "Wagner Group" has started recruiting - presumably - to work in Mali, but it does not accept anyone born in Ukraine, including the territories of Donbas and Crimea, the Russian editorial office of BBC News reported.

According to the announcement, Georgian citizens and people born on the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic cannot enlist in the unit. That rule also pertains to people born in Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, and the Donbas territories under the control of pro-Russian separatists.

The BBC believe that "many participants in combat operations in eastern Ukraine" are dissatisfied with this restriction.

BBC sources said that the mercenaries were likely to work in Mali. Recruitment takes place at the Molkino training ground in Krasnodar, southern Russia.

On 25 September, Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, confirmed that the Mali government wanted to hire Russian mercenaries from the "Wagner Group". This is the unofficial name of the formation which - according to independent media - took part in the fighting in Donbas, Syria and Libya. The media associates this "private military company" with businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin who is close to the Kremlin.

Mercenary activity is officially prohibited in Russia.