Putin says Russian military contractors can work in any country

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during annual news conference in Moscow, Russia December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian private military contractors from a company known as the Wagner Group had the right to work and pursue their interests anywhere in the world as long as they did not break Russian law.

The Kremlin has until now denied suggestions that Russian contractors are operating clandestinely in Syria.

“I repeat, they are not breaking Russian law and have the right to work and promote their business interest wherever they like in the world,” Putin told his annual news conference.

“If this Wagner Group is breaking any laws, the prosecutor’s office must give its legal opinion.”

Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Polina Ivanova; Writing by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Kevin Liffey