The number of dead Russian soldiers fighting in Syria and directly participating in the battles for Palmyra highly exceeds official data that was announced by the Russian Defense Ministry.
According to Reuters, Russian soldiers suffered 21 casualties while the military department confirms the death of only five people.
Reuters emphasized the period from January 29 of this year to the end of March. During this time, the agency stresses, the official losses of the Russian army in the fighting for Palmyra are understated at least four times.
Last month, journalists personally communicated with friends and relatives of some of the dead soldiers, examined the data of cemeteries and materials in social networks. They came to the conclusion that from January 29 to March 31, a total of 18 Russian citizens were killed in the fighting.
However, in April the agency confirmed the death of three more Russian Army soldiers: Alexei Safonov, Vladimir Plutinsky and Mikhail Nefedov. Journalists say that according to the deceased’s relatives, all of the listed casualties served in the army under a contract.
In addition to soldiers of the regular army, Russia also sends private mercenaries to Syria. They officially have a civil status, but usually they are retired officers with combat experience. Reuters notes that they take part in ground operations under military command.
According to RBC, the number of dead mercenaries from the beginning of the Russian military campaign in Syria could have reached 36 people. In total, during the military operation, 68 dead were reported.