As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies with shelling of cities, the CEO of a private security contractor hired to extract clients from the region is troubled by what he’s seeing.
“The conditions on the ground are worsening every day,” Global Guardian CEO Dale Buckner told Yahoo Finance (video above). “When we started, of course, the front line trace of the Russian forces which was much further north near Kyiv, the capital, was much further to the east near Donbas, and they were in, within the Crimea in the south. Obviously, all that’s changed. So now we’re moving and flowing with where the Russians are moving towards and we’re trying to avoid those areas as we continue to execute these evacuations.”
Buckner, speaking on Friday, added that “we went into Kyiv and Odessa and Dnipro… this morning. In each case, literally as the vehicles are standing there, as we’re manifesting clients and Ukrainians onto the bus, you can hear missile strikes, you can hear bombs going off.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 has been marked by heavy fighting and intense resistance from Ukrainian forces. The conflict has led to widespread sanctions against Russia in addition to major U.S. companies suspending business in Russia.
Companies with employees in Ukraine are turning to private security firms like Global Guardian to extract workers and other VIPs. Extracting workers has become a top priority for tech companies that have tapped into the country’s burgeoning tech hub.
“IT profession here is very popular among the young people, so a lot of universities, they grow their faculties for technical professionals,” N-iX Founder and CEO Andrew Pavliv recently told Yahoo Finance in an interview. “Software developers in Ukraine, they have much bigger wages than the average in the country, so it’s a popular job to do for young people.”
Buckner said the current evacuations are classified “as emergency response.” And because many countries have restricted their airspace amid the invasion, clients must first be flown to countries like the UAE before returning to their home countries or headquarters.
He added that Global Guardian has also shifted to taking on some humanitarian efforts despite primarily operating as a for-hire private security group.
“When we don’t have [extraction teams] tasked, we are running free shuttles to the border of Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia,” he said, adding that the security firm is also making room for civilians on corporate missions. “When we do execute a mission on behalf of a corporate client, we’re bringing families and all elements of family members.”
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