SA man making millions evacuating people from Ukraine

SA man making millions evacuating people from Ukraine

A former South African intelligence operative is reportedly making millions of dollars by leading the evacuations of Ukrainians amid Russia’s invasion of the country.


It’s been about two weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine. BBC has since reported that there is a demand for those working in the private military and security industry.

“Wanted: Multilingual former soldiers willing to covertly head into Ukraine for the handsome sum of up to $2,000 (R30 150) per day – plus bonus – to help rescue families from an increasingly grim conflict,” the advertisement reads according to BBC.

A Canadian American author and expert on private military companies (PMCs), Robert Young Pelton, says that there is a frenzy in the market for private contractors to evacuate people and families from Ukraine.

He added that the war has left room for plenty of mistakes as the paid security workers included former soldiers trained in lethal combat and weaponry. However, it has become a popular escape route for those who can pay their way to safety.


The price of the evacuations depends on how complex the work is, said former South African intelligence operative Tony Schiena, who is the CEO of Mosaic – a US-headed intelligence and security advisory firm which is already operating in Ukraine.

Schiena’s firm includes several former high-ranking US intelligence officials on its board. He told BBC the Mosaic’s missions are intelligence-driven rather than armed.

The team is working with private clients, corporations and PMCs to help evacuate people from Ukraine.

“Depending on how the conflict plays out, I think there will be a constant demand for [PMCs]. There’s a constant need, and as [the war] escalates or de-escalates, there’s always going to be something that we’re approached to do,” said Schiena to BBC.

Larger the number of people, the higher the risk

Schiena also said that the larger the number of people, the higher the risk.

“When there’s a larger amount of people, the risk goes up. Children and families are more difficult. It all depends on the methods we use to get them across,” he continued.

The recruitment platform did not reveal who they were advertising for, but according to Pelton, contractors are being hired for between $30 000 (R452 255) and $6 million (R90.4 million) to help evacuate people from Ukraine.

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