The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has released a list of mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) who were transported to Syria by the Russian Navy, as announced in a statement by SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak, the department’s press service reports.
“Despite the statements by the Russian Defense Ministry concerning the supposed ‘unsuitability’ of the Varyag cruiser for transporting personnel and equipment, the SBU is disclosing a list of Wagner PMC mercenaries who were secretly shipped from Vladivostok to Syria on precisely this ship of the Russian Navy (Residents of Primorsky Krai, the Amur province and the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia),” the statement reads.
“I draw attention to the fact that for at least two mercenaries from this list (A. Krokhun and P. Solomonov), their voyage on board the Varyag was a one-way trip,” Hrytsak added.
“If the Russian Defense Ministry has ‘difficulties’ establishing the specific passport information and residential addresses of the aforementioned Russian citizens from the Wagner ikhtamnetov (‘they-are-not-theres’) in order to hold them criminally accountable for mercenary activities, the SBU is prepared to disclose this information in order to bring the truth to Russian citizens and eradicate the ‘ignorance’ of the senior officers of the Russian Defense Ministry,” the SBU head emphasized.
According to Hrytsak, SBU staff have questioned witnesses of the transportation of Wagner mercenaries by Russian naval forces. A former Russian soldier revealed that during his contract service between 2015 and 2017 on board the Varyag missile cruiser, he was repeatedly involved in the transportation of Wagner fighters and their heavy weaponry and ammunition to Syria.
Earlier Reuters carried out an investigation on the presence of Wagner mercenaries in Syria. The news outlet claims that the private Syrian aviation company Cham Wings flies between Damascus and Rostov-on-Don, bringing Russian mercenaries to Syria.
Reuters also reported that some of the Airbus and Boeing planes used for this purpose had been acquired or rented by the companies Khors and Dart, which are registered in Ukraine.
Khors and Dart deny the accusations that they had supplied companies under sanctions with airplanes.
On February 7, 300 Russian mercenaries were killed or injured in Syria. This took place when, together with the Syrian pro-government forces, they began an assault on the known positions of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and were utterly defeated.
The Wagner PMC is comprised of Russians with ultra-nationalist convictions, as well as military veterans, several of whom have also fought in Ukraine.