Private military companies have a very special relationship with Russian law

The existence of private military companies (PMCs) that provide various services including in foreign countries, does not contradict to the Russian law, Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at a press conference with journalists.

“Indeed, we do not have any provisions in the legislation that would regulate this activity. At the same time, there are a number of companies that provide various kinds of consulting and security services, including outside Russia," the Kremlin spokesman said. 

The existence of private military companies does not contradict to the Russian legislation, he added.

If there any contradictions, it may be necessary to improve the legislation, the press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation said. 

“This topic is not on the agenda of the president,” Peskov said, answering a question from journalists whether such a state of affairs was contradictory to the article on mercenarism in Russian law.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking at the UN General Assembly, said that the Mali authorities have turned to a Russian PMC for help in the fight against terrorism. The French military could not turn the tide on terrorism in the country, Lavrov added. 

Noteworthy, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation contains Article 359 ("Mercenarism"). In accordance with the article, mercenary activities in an armed conflict or hostilities are punishable by up to seven years in prison.