New evidence has begun to appear on Russian social networks and media on the death of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a private military company, in an airstrike by the US-led coalition forces in the Syrian Deir al-Zor province.
The death of Alexey Ladygin from Ryazan was reported on Sunday.
Ladygin’s friends write that he was involved in the events in Crimea as part of the Russian special forces. He later took part in the fight for Debaltseve in western Ukraine. In the Wagner Group, Ladygin was in the 5th assault platoon.
Another Russian who was killed, Vladimir Loginov, was a Sotnik (lieutenant) in the Cossack Khutor Pregolsky community. He went to Syria to support the Syrian Arab army in the fight against international terrorism, and to prevent it from penetrating Russia.
“He died heroically protecting our motherland in distant avenues of approach from the mad barbarians’ invasion,” said Maksim Buga, Ataman (commander) of the Baltic Independent Cossack District, a Baltic Cossack union in the Kaliningrad province.
The Ataman also reported that Vladimir Loginov left behind a wife and a young daughter.
The fate of Stanislav Matveyev from Asbest was related by his cousin Igor Patsko. According to Patsko, Matveyev spent his childhood in the Donetsk province, where he completed technical college and acquired a job specialization, after which he returned to Asbest and worked in his field. The 38 year-old left behind a wife and two sons. Patsko also mentioned that Matveyev went to Syria due to his patriotic convictions.
“He went due to patriotic convictions, he protected Russians,” Patsko said.
The death of Igor Kosoturov, another Asbest resident, was also reported. Kosoturov had also fought in the Donbas.
The media has also reported the death of the Russian Kirill Ananyev, who had been in the National Bolshevik Party of Eduard Limonov since 2000.
In 2006, Ananyev was convicted of vandalism for spilling his own blood on the porch of the Tversk Interior Affairs department.
It is unlikely to be possible to determine the total number of Russian mercenaries killed in the US airstrikes, but there can be no doubt that there were in fact Russian deaths.
Earlier, former DPR head Igor Girkin (Strelkov) wrote on VKontakte that it was not Syrians, but “two tactical divisions of the Wagner Group” which were the target of the US airstrike. Strelkov claims that close to 100 Russians were killed.
The Russian Ministry of Defense denies that Russians were killed in the airstrike. The department claims that there were no Russian soldiers in the region, only “local militia” who were acting entirely independently of the Russian command.
According to the media, the Wagner Group was created in 2014 by reserve lieutenant colonel Dmitry Utkin. Initially the mercenaries fought in the Donbas on the side of the pro-Russian militants, and later they went to Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry does not acknowledge that the private military company fighters are taking part in the operation in Syria.
The Wagner Group is believed to be connected to the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s chef”. Earlier, someone with the same name as Utkin was appointed CEO of the company “Conchord Management and Consulting”, which oversees Prigozhin’s restaurant business. Prigozhin himself denies having any connection to the Wagner Group.