Roman Zabolotny and Grigory Tsurkanu, who were shown in the video from Syria with captured Russian soldiers, have most likely been killed by Islamic State militants, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the CIS and European Integration Viktor Vodolatsky told reporters on October 5.
According to the MP, on camera the prisoners refused to renounce their orthodox faith, adopt Islam and join ISIS, and so they were killed by the terrorists. Vodolatsky did not disclose the information’s source.
“It is most unfortunate that Roman Zabolotny and the other prisoner are almost certainly no longer alive… They were true to their orthodoxy and to their homeland until the end, and for this their lives were taken by these bandits,” Interfax cites him as saying.
On October 3 a video clip was published by Amaq news agency which is affiliated with ISIS, showing two supposedly captured Russian soldiers. One of them gave his name as Roman Zabolotny and said that he and Grigory Tsurkanu were Russian soldiers captured in an ISIS counter-attack. The Russian Defense Ministry denied that Russian soldiers had been captured by militants in Syria.
After the publication of the video, Vodolatsky told Interfax that he is acquainted with Zabolotny, who is a member of a Cossack organization in the Rostov province, but that he needs to investigate “whether it is really him in the video”. Local city council member Anatoly Kotlyarov confirmed that the Don Cossack had been executed in Syria, citing a “reliable source”.
The second man was recognized by the All-Russian public organization “Military Brotherhood” as Grigory Tsurkanu. His identity has also been confirmed by relatives. Tsurkanu’s brother told Business FM that Grigory was currently supposed to be in Syria, where he had gone as part of the Wagner Group.
According to Russian media and reports on social networks, Wagner is a Russian private military company which participates in combat in Syrian and takes considerable losses. The Russian Defense Ministry denies the existence of the Wagner Group so that no casualties are recorded on official lists.