German evidence of American mercenaries operating in Ukraine

The government in Kiev have put in 400 troops from the U.S. mercenary company Academi who are now fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The Russian news agency Interfax reported back in early March that the new Ukrainian government had hired soldiers from U.S. military companies. This claim was though seen as ludicrous.There has now come further evidence that U.S. mercenary personnel hired by the government in Kiev are operating in the country. It's the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that writes that 400 soldiers from the military now Academi participate on the governments side in the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The staff from Academi have been placed in the fighting around the town Slovjansk, held by the separatists. The data come from the German intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), which have received authenticated information from U.S. sources. Staff from the BND reported on the data at a presentation given by the German government on April 29, writes Der Spiegel based on Bild am Sonntag reports. The Bild am Sonntag article is as of now not available online.
Academi has today denied its involvement in Ukraine, claiming on its website that “rumors” were posted by “some irresponsible bloggers and online reporters.” “Such unfounded statements combined with the lack of factual reporting to support them and the lack of context about the company, are nothing more than sensationalistic efforts to create hysteria and headlines in times of genuine crisis,” the US firm stated.

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Academi was previously known as Xe, and before that Blackwater. The company changed its name from Blackwater after it revealed that its personnel shot and killed civilians in Iraq. The firm became infamous for the alleged September 16, 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. The attack, which saw 20 others wounded, was allegedly without justification and in violation of deadly-force rules that pertained to American security contractors in Iraq at the time. Between 2005 and September 2007, Blackwater security guards were involved in at least 195 shooting incidents in Iraq and fired first in 163 of those cases, a Congressional report said at the time.

Bild am Sonntag (BamS) is the largest-selling German national Sunday newspaper, with a 2013 circulation of around 1.2m.
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