U.S. security firm with links to Blackwater sends private army to Ukraine, disguised as "local forces"
Russian Foreign Ministry said there were around '150 American specialists' Statement claimed security firm Greystone sent in specialists 'disguised'. Greystone Ltd founded in 2004 and broke away as standalone firm in 2010. It was an affiliate of Xe Services, which changed name from Blackwater. ● Russia claims 150 Americans have been sent to Ukraine by a U.S. firm with historic links to Blackwater - the private security contractor which made headlines after a mass shooting in Iraq. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow today condemned the use of a supposed private army by Greystone Ltd 'disguised' as local forces. Greystone, which claims it recruits from the world's top armies and police forces, was founded in 2004 as an affiliate of Blackwater before breaking away to become a standalone firm in 2010. Four former Blackwater security guards are facing trial in the U.S. over a 2007 shooting which killed 14 people in Baghdad.
The statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs came as the Kremlin - which is facing international condemnation for sending troops into Crimea - warned 'civil war' could be looming in eastern Ukraine. It condemned the arrest today of 70 pro-Russian activists who stormed a government building in Kharkiv, just 25 miles from the Russian border. Russia, which has 40,000 troops on its side of the border, claimed the 'crackdown' was 'against the policies of the current government in Kiev'. The statement then added: 'Of particular concern is the fact that in this operation are about 150 American specialists from the private military organization "Greystone", disguised in the form of units of the "Falcon". 'Organizers and participants of this provocation are taking on a huge responsibility to create threats to the rights, freedoms and lives of civilians and for the stability of the Ukrainian State. 'We call for the immediate cessation of any military preparations, which could lead to the outbreak of civil war.'
The Wall Street Journal reported Greystone had categorically denied deploying anyone in Ukraine. An article quoted representative Coreena Taylor saying: 'We do not have anyone working in Ukraine nor do we have any plans to deploy anyone to the region.' However, Greystone gave no comment when contacted by MailOnline today at its head office in Chesapeake, Virginia. Pressed on whether the comments reported by the Wall Street Journal was accurate or officially sanctioned, a representative replied: 'This is officially sanctioned: We have no comment.' A U.S. State Department spokesman said it could not answer for a private company, but added: 'We do not have any U.S. military units in Ukraine.'