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Private and Mercenary Military Forces

Volume 680: debated on Monday 21 September 2020

What recent assessment he has made of the level of threat of private and mercenary military forces to (a) the UK and (b) the UK’s allies. (906261)

The Department keeps all threats to the UK and its allies under regular review, including those from private and mercenary forces.

My right hon. Friend will agree that many of our adversaries deploy mercenaries and private contractors as cartels to achieve their nefarious goals around the world, particularly in Libya, where the Wagner group acts as a proxy for the Russian state. What steps are being taken in the integrated review, and also multilaterally, to assess and combat this threat?

Our adversaries’ use of mercenaries and proxies is growing and undermining stability in the middle east, north Africa and more widely. It is not just Russia’s widely reported use of the Wagner proxy military group in Libya, which of course we condemn, that is causing this instability. We see other actors such as Iran behaving in this way. The UK condemns all destabilising mercenary and proxy military activity. I am afraid I cannot comment on the individual actions we take to counter this threat, as to do so would prejudice their effectiveness.