The foreign Ministry is authorized to confirm
"According to preliminary data, as a result of armed clashes, the causes of which are now being investigated, we can talk about the death of five people, presumably citizens of Russia",— said the official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova at a briefing on Thursday.
She added that there are victims, but the information requires verification, "first and foremost, of course, citizenship — are they citizens of Russia or other countries." Maria Zakharova stressed that we are not talking about Russian soldiers.
"In conflict zones is a large number of citizens from all regions of the world including Russia and CIS countries. The purpose of their stay in the hot spots are different, including participation in combat,— said the representative of the foreign Ministry.—
In the organs of state people who move to the scene of hostilities, with the design of the exit are not treated, they fall in the combat zone in many different ways, including illegally.
To track them all down and check who is doing what, what is the status, is extremely difficult, but at the same time, the Russian foreign Ministry together with other government agencies fulfills each case, as the protection of Russian citizens abroad is one of the main objectives of our Department".
The first information about the deaths of Russian citizens under the Deir ez-Zor appeared a few days ago. Then a few military sources, "Kommersant" reported that on the night of 7 to 8 February in addition to the Syrian fighters in the area of the former refinery "El ISBA" American aircraft bombarded and the Russians, fought on the side of Pro-government militias.
In Russian social networks, the death toll ranged from 100 to 660 people. The publication of "hundreds of victims" — this is the "classic disinformation, which the Western media", told "Kommersant" in the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Officially, the Ministry of defense of the Russian Federation in the first hours after the incident was reported about 25 wounded Syrians, but Russian citizens are not mentioned.
If Syria has killed and injured hundreds of citizens of the Russian Federation, though not soldiers and fighters of private military companies (PMCs), they would have to take out aircraft. However, the increased flight activity in the skies over Syria in the first days after the battle of Deir ez-Zor “b” could not be found.
Throughout the day on 8 February and till the evening on 9 February, the service Flightradar24 did not record any planes over Syria, which could theoretically be involved in the incident with the soldiers, "PMC Wagner." However, at about 21:47, 9 February on radar near the town of Maarat al-Nauman (East of Latakia) was a Russian Il-76 tail number RF-78850, which flew, apparently, sat on the base Hamim. Later, around midnight, was able to pick up another Russian plane An-124 with the number RA-82010, he was flying from El Karatina and also sat in Hamima. The history of flight both sides shows that they arrived in Syria from Moscow on 9 February, and the Il-76 to the same flew back on the morning of 10 February. About the An-124 insights to make harder: after midnight on 10 February, he got on the radar of only February 12 — he was flying over the region of Stavropol to Moscow. The planes of both types regularly fly from Russia to Syria and back.
However, not all military aircraft fly with the included transponder, the picture of the flight based on the service Flightradar24, may be incomplete.
"Three million killed"
In medical institutions on the territory of Russia delivered to the affected participants of the battle of Deir-ez-Zor, told “Kommersant” a friend of one of the men who visited a friend in one of Moscow hospitals. "With my own eyes, I saw only two people that were in the house. From the words of my friend, it follows that they were taken by the Board of Hamina in the amount of 30 people",— said the interlocutor of Kommersant.
According to the coordinator of the project "Volunteer.org" Michael Polinkova, the operation involved several storm troopers "PMC Wagner." Directly, the battle joined team "Karpaty", formerly known as "Spring". It consisted of the residents of Donbass and Russians, who took part in the fighting in the Donbass. The second and fifth units of the PMC to the beginning of the strike the American air force was standing in the column. In addition, on the battlefield was attended by the armored group, T-72 and the artillery battalion of M-30 howitzers. Almost immediately after the assault began shelling and communication with the headquarters stopped.
According to Mr. Polinkova, referring to their own information, the first attack was similar to the 120-mm mortars, then there were air strikes with "beyond precision." The air attack lasted from about midnight until four in the morning.
The remnants of the assault teams were already destroyed American helicopters. The latest air strikes, the Americans have already dealt at the retreating remnants of the units "PMC Wagner."
According to "Kommersant", the soldiers "PMC Wagner" come to Syria under contracts with the company "Euro Polis".
In turn, a former employee of the so-called PMC Wagner, who returned a month ago from the victim of an airstrike by coalition units, told “Kommersant” that the wounded and dead were paid as full-time employees of different small businesses in the form of limited liability companies. "Insurance, as the contract we have. But all the promised payouts: 3 million killed — the family, 700 thousand for the wounded. Their pay," says the source.
According to Russian military sources, "b", the cause of the incident in the province of Deir ez-Zor was the attempt by a local "big business, currently supporting Bashar al-Assad", to capture oil and gas deposits under the control of the Kurdish allies of the United States. To this end, in the offensive moved the Pro-government tribal formation, and the so-called hunting parties on the "Islamic state" (IG; a terrorist organization banned in Russia) (ISIS Hunters), reinforced by soldiers of the "PMC Wagner" was in the second tier. The impact of the U.S. air force and was subjected to artillery bombardment and those and others.
The interlocutor of Kommersant says that the Russian commanders in Syria were not given approval to conduct offensive operations for oil and gas fields, and it was a "dangerous Amateur". In an official statement the Ministry of defence said: "the Cause of the incident were not consistent with the command of the operational group of Russian reconnaissance and search actions of the Syrian rebels".
For the last week in the Russian social networks have the names of eight victims of Russian-speaking citizens.
A Russian military source told “Kommersant” that the number of deaths of the Russians — 11. How many injured, is still unknown.
"I can't confirm the presence of the contract soldiers from Russia"
We will remind, according to the American military, the international coalition responded to "unprovoked attack" on the headquarters of the Syria democratic Forces (SDS) in the province of Deir ez-Zor. As the commander of the operations of the U.S. air force in Syria, Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigan in the briefing, on 13 February, at the beginning of the attack by Pro-government forces in the skies in the area were fighters and drones of the coalition, which performed routine patrols of the airspace. "We immediately contacted the Russian representatives on the scrambler to transform conflict situations to inform them about the unprovoked attack on the position of the SDS and the coalition. After these calls the leadership of the coalition had approved the strikes against enemy forces,"— he said at a press briefing.
Mr. Harrigan said that the attack by Pro-government forces was unprovoked, but not unexpected. The coalition was watching the build-up of personnel and equipment during the week and informed the Russians that in this area there are the forces of the SDS and the coalition. The incident occurred about 8 km to the East from the demarcation line between Pro-government forces and the VTS.
On February 14 the UN security Council meeting Russia and the United States have given diametrically opposite assessments of the incident. The representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia said that the attack was unprovoked, his American colleague, Nikki Haley claimed that the coalition acted in self-defense, reflecting the attack on it supported opposition parties.
American military deaths the Russians are still not confirmed. In their official message was about more than 100 dead "proasadovskih fighters". On Wednesday the head of Department on public relations of the headquarters of the operation Inherent Resolve ("resoluteness"), which holds in Iraq and Syria group of countries led by the US, Colonel Thomas Fork said "Kommersant": "We can not confirm the presence (in the province of Deir ez-Zor.— "B") of contract soldiers from Russia".
Arab media last week published a information about the victims in Syria the Russians from Russian and Western sources. Own reliable information they got. The electronic edition of the Euphrates Postсообщило only that the next day after fighting in the conflict zone arrived the helicopter with high-ranking Russian military, which had to assess the situation.
Late in the evening of 14 February, the head located in London, the Syrian monitoring centre for human rights, Rami Abderrahman said that the 15 Russians allegedly killed in the explosion at the warehouse with a weapon, which belonged to the Russian private military company. There, according to him, killing seven Syrians. The incident occurred in the area of the settlement Tabiat-Jazeera on the East Bank of the Euphrates, two days after an airstrike by coalition "peresadovka."
According to Rami Abderrahman, the company "engaged in the protection of oil and gas fields under the control of the forces of the Syrian regime," and its presence in the area, probably associated "with the attempt of the regime to seize the gas field of koniko, which is controlled by the VTS". For seven years the Syrian conflict, the accuracy of the information of this center have been doubts in Moscow and Damascus.
Marianna Belenkaya, Maxim Solopov, Kirill Krivosheev
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