Yuriy Ebel, a resident of the Obrochnoye village in the Republic of Mordovia, was killed in Syria on October 20.
This was reported by the local newspaper Stolitsa S, and attention was drawn to it by the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a group of independent researchers.
According to the article, a group of 18 fighters, including the 25 year-old Russian, fell under fire. None of them survived.
The newspaper emphasizes that Ebel was a member of the private military company Wagner Group. The trip to Syria was his fifth – before this he had been involved in “peacekeeping activity” in Crimea and the Donbas.
As of October 20, Ebel’s wife started to receive notifications that her messages to Ebel’s phone had not been delivered. On November 1 she received news of her husband’s death. Several days later, a coffin with Ebel’s body arrived on Obrochnoye, and he was buried in a local cemetery.
After analyzing Ebel’s profile on social networks, CIT explained that the deceased had done his compulsory military service in 2012. Judging by the photographs, Ebel served in military intelligence.
It was reported at the end of October that in the ten months of this year, at least 131 Russians had been killed in Syria. The casualties may have included both Russian contractors and private military company fighters.
According to media, the Wagner Group was created in 2014 by reserve lieutenant colonel Dmitry Utkin. Initially the mercenaries fought in the Donbas on the pro-Russian militants’ side, though later they went to Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry will not confirm that the Wagner Group is involved in the Syrian operation.
The group is connected to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, also known as “Putin’s chef”. Earlier, a person with the same name as Utkin was appointed CEO of the firm Concord Management and Consulting, which manages Prigozhin’s catering company. The businessman denied his connection to the Wagner Group, and was “extremely surprised” to learn of the group’s existence.