FSB staff have forced the parents of the Russian soldier Gregory Tsurkanu, who was captured in Syria, not to “cause a stir”, Tsurkanu’s parents told Radio Liberty.
The ISIS-controlled news agency Amaq released a video depicting two allegedly captured Russian citizens. One of them was Roman Zabolotny, the other was Grigory Tsurkanu.
Tsurkanu supposedly fought in Syria as part of Russia’s private company Wagner Group, his brother Roman told Radio Liberty. He noted that Tsurkanu left for Syria in May, and kept his “business trip” a secret.
Tsurkanu’s brother confirmed that it really is his brother in the video released by the jihadists.
“Yes, that’s my brother. I won’t dissociate myself. They send them off to the slaughter, draw them in with money, and then renounce them, because mercenaries can’t fight like that. They are specialists… they are mercenaries. The state keeps a private army, the Wagner private military company. It’s them,” said Roman Tsurkanu.
According to him, this was not his brother’s first trip to Syria. This time he went there in May.
“There, if there is a contract, nobody sees where it is kept, nobody knows. They sign a non-disclosure [document] there. The only thing I know is that there they describe everything in advance: what medals and money they will take back to relatives [in the event of death], and everything else,” the brother of the captured Russian explained.
He said that he did not know how much his brother earned in the Wagner Group.
Roman Tsurkanu also said that Grigory had fought for the separatists in the Donbas on two occasions in 2014.
Radio Liberty’s camera crew went to Tsurkanu’s family’s house on Wednesday. Tsurkanu’s brother was ready to meet with reporters personally in the morning, but stopped answering phone calls after lunch.
Tsurkanu’s parents said that they had received anonymous phone calls, assuring them that their son would be released, and telling them not to “cause a stir”. They later admitted that the calls had come “from the FSB”.
The Russian Defense Ministry officially denies that any Russian soldiers have been captured in Syria. Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary to the Russian President, said that the Kremlin will look into this information carefully.