‘No military’. Foreign Ministry confirms death of ‘Russian citizens’ in Deir ez-Zor clash

Russian soldiers patrolling streets in Aleppo. 15 March 2017. Phot. Omar Sanadiki/REUTERS

Russian soldiers patrolling streets in Aleppo, 15 March 2017. Photo by Omar Sanadiki, Reuters.

Several dozen Russian citizens and citizens of other CIS countries were wounded in recent clashes in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

“They were helped to return to Russia where they were being treated in various medical institutions,” the statement reads.

The ministry failed to go into detail, but stressed that Russian military had not been involved in the fighting:

“During a recent military clash, in which servicemen from the Russian Federation did not participate in any way… citizens from Russia and CIS (former Soviet) countries died.”

According to information provided by the ministry earlier, five Russian citizens were allegesdly killed; the Kremlin called media reports of a higher death toll as ‘disinformation’.

On February 7, US forces carried out air strikes against a pro-regime force who were assaulting the positions of Syrian democratic Forces not far from Deir ez-Zor. Up to 200 Russian nationals could have been killed, Reuters reported with reference to oits own sources.

The dead might have been members of Russia’s unregistered private military company ‘Wagner’. Rumour has it that Wagner soldiers get thousands of dollars for participating in military operations. The grouping of Russian mercenaries led by Commander Dmitry Utkin is supposedly financed by Evgeny Prigozhin whose nickname is ‘Putin’s Chef’.


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