March 29, 2021
The Kyiv Post reported on March 26, “Private military companies (PMCs) are illegal in Ukraine. But it has rarely stopped people with deep enough pockets, who are fond of solving their business issues with a kind word and a gun.
Late on March 24, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) raided and disarmed a training camp run by DBC Corp., a security contractor founded by former soldiers and officers of the paramilitary Donbas Battalion, which used to fight Russian-sponsored forces in the Donbas.
According to the SBU, the unlicensed company had stockpiles of military-grade weapons and was training its personnel for combat. Law enforcers accused the illegal PMC’s employees of smuggling military equipment from Russia.
And journalists reported that DBC Corp. has fought in corporate wars on behalf of billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who was recently sanctioned by the United States and faces civil and criminal investigations in several countries.
On March 26, the Slidstvo.Info investigative journalism agency reported that DBC’s subsidiary in Ukraine defended Kolomoisky’s interests by having a gunfight in Kyiv, preventing state officials from entering state-owned energy company Centrenergo and helping organize protests against members of the National Bank of Ukraine. Kolomoisky didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The SBU reported that the PMC unofficially employed 150 people disguised as members of other, legal security companies and civic organizations. According to the SBU, DBC Corp. is effectively a mercenary company. Running one is a criminal felony in Ukraine.
Notably, the organization was headed by Semyon Semenchenko, a former lawmaker and founder of the Donbas Battalion, as well as Yevhen Shevchenko, a blogger closely tied to Semenchenko, who was presented as ‘a non-staff agent’ with the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) in a number of high-profile corruption cases.
However, the most surprising aspect of the case may be the fact that the SBU only now decided to bust Semenchenko’s company. DBC (an abbreviation of Donbas Battalion Corporation) has acted in the open for years.
It even has a Facebook group and a Wikipedia page, which say the company was founded in 2018 by former Donbas Battalion veterans together with American investors in New York, where its headquarters is allegedly located. Private military contractors are legal in the U.S.”