The bodies of mercenaries from the Wagner private military company (PMC) who have been killed in Libya have started arriving in Russia, Meduza reports, citing sources and relatives of the deceased. According to the sources, as many as several dozen mercenaries may have been killed in an airstrike by the Government of National Accord against the forces of Russia-backed Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
“From the [Sverdlovsk] province a total of 15 people [were killed], and from the entire country, 35, we were told,” an acquaintance of several victims from Yekaterinburg told Meduza.
The head of the Ural branch of the Donbas Volunteers Union told Meduza that he had received information from Libya that Artem “Hulk” Nevyantsev and Ignat “Benya” Borichev had been killed there. However, he said that “there will be more” casualties.
“I’m not going to say anything,” Nevyantsev’s wife told RBC in a phone call.
Another Medusa source, a former PMC commander, estimated that 20 people had been killed in the airstrike. Several people informed the news outlet that a mercenary named Denis “Vector” from Kushchyovskaya in Krasnodar Krai had been killed. At least one seriously injured mercenary is currently in St. Petersburg – first detachment commander “Ratibor” – a source from the Wagner PMC told Meduza. The body of a mercenary with the alias “Academic” has also been delivered to Murmansk.
At the end of September, Bloomberg reported that roughly 100 Wagner PMC mercenaries had arrived at a forward base in order to take part in Haftar’s Libyan National Army’s assault on Tripoli. One of the mercenary commanders (whose name was not mentioned) confirmed to Bloomberg that Russians had been involved in the fighting in Libya, and noted that several of them had already been killed in confrontations.
Previously it was reported that there were roughly 300 Russian mercenaries in Libya. However, The Telegraph wrote in spring this year that the Russians there were not involved in combat on the front line, and were instead providing security at the Haftar-controlled port cities of Tobruk and Derna.