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After the deadly battle in Syria, evidence of Russian losses was covered

Maria Tsvetkova and Anton Zverev

YELENOVSKOYE, Russia (Reuters) – The final contact with Grigori Gancherov and his spouse was together with his son, a Russian personal army contractor in Syria. 19659002] The daddy later discovered from Sergei's pal and good friend of your good friend that the 25-year-old had died several days later in an amazing wrestle towards US-led forces in the Deir al-Zor space.

It was not till mid-April that he was formally knowledgeable of the demise of his son and that the body was returned, accompanied by a dying certificate stating that he died on 7 March on the other aspect of Syria.

The Gancherov account is one half a dozen instances when Reuters has recognized the place a Kremlin personal army organization hired by fighters returned over seven weeks after the battle and official paperwork containing detailed info that people who knew them have been fallacious . [19659002] Based on family members and a battlefield witness, the fighters died in a confrontation in the Syrian Deir al-Zor region, which happened overnight on February seventh.

Such practices, an uncommon mannequin for Russian fighters who died in Syria, would only have helped disguise the heavy casualties after the re-election of President Vladimir Putin in mid-March.

The Moscow message at that time was that the Syrian army campaign was a hit solely with modest human prices.

These details are born virtually a yr after the Battle of Deir al-Zor demonstrates that Moscow can wrestle by overseeing its messages overseas on accidents at a time when it is increasing its army activities in the Center East and Africa.


About 100 Russian army contractors died in the Battle of Deir al-Zor, sources stated. The Russian Ministry of Overseas Affairs has stated that just a few Russian residents died there and rejected studies of heavy losses

. Sergei Gancherov and his buddies stood shut to each other just earlier than their position hit, based on what the good friend gave to his father.

The wounded good friend informed his father that he discovered about Gancherov's dying at the medical evacuation degree on his approach again to Russia.

Reuters couldn't speak to a good friend or verify his account.

Grigory Gancherov intends to switch his son with a picket cross on the official demise certificate with a tombstone marked on the date of the Battle of Deir al-Zor.

It was the first direct confrontation between the United States and Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was additionally the solely recognized battle in Syria in the early half of last yr, where Russian army contractors participated.

Nevertheless, in each six instances identified by Reuters, where fighters have been returned to their households after the elections, dying certificates issued by Russian officials in Syria reported lifeless at the finish of February or March.

Several kin of these fighters stated that the recruiters who advised them about the demise of their relations informed them that that they had not revealed the circumstances.

The Kremlin refused to comment on Gancherov's dying or the dying of different fighters. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated it was incorrect to recommend that the authorities postpone the issuing of Russian dying certificates for deaths in Syria because of the elections.

Peskov stated that demise certificates issued by Russian officers contained incorrect info, however that was not a question for the Kremlin. He added that he did not know whether there was a delay in the restoration of the amenities

. The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Overseas Affairs didn’t respond to requests for comments

As Reuters has reported, Russia used secretly personal army contractors in Syria to hold out tasks supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as Moscow's ally in cooperation with the Russian military.

The fighter group often known as the Wagner Group makes use of the Ministry of Protection's transport infrastructure and hospitals. Russia denies the use of army contractors in Syria and says that Russian civilians have volunteers.

Peskov was unable to verify whether or not the Wagner Group was working in Syria or to perform duties on behalf of the Russian authorities

The individual whom Reuters understands to be near the Wagner Commander did not respond to the request for comment.


On February 7, Russian fighters progressed to an oil refinery in the province of Deir al-Zor, a Kurdish and US-led coalition that responded with heavy air.

A army contractor who stated he was surviving by the deaths of many, noticed two of the six fighters returned to the household after the election with official paperwork that later had demise dates. Colleagues informed him that the delay was as a result of the high quantity of deaths and that journalists followed Rostov-on-Don airport in southern Russia, which was a key stop for a personal army company.

"All of them were hard to deliver right away, as journalists waited for them in Rostov to meet airplanes as we were told," the fighter stated.

He stated he did not need to be recognized because his recruiters didn’t give him the alternative to disclose information about his mission in Syria

. Reuters journalists spent a number of days after the February battle, which adopted the army coronation and Rostov Airport. They didn't see the arrival of the coffin.

In accordance with the fighter, one of the lifeless colleagues he saw was Anton Vazhov of the city of southern Russia in Novoshakhtinsky, in accordance with which he died on 21 March.

He stated he saw Vazhov's body bag on February eight when he returned to the battlefield after an air strike to collect the lifeless.

"When we turned her back and blew dust, we recognized her," the fighter stated and added that he drove Vazhov further from the battlefield with greater than 20 other our bodies.


In the Kirov area, situated 800 kilometers northeast of Moscow, there are three fighter tombs whose organs have been returned to households at the beginning of April, in accordance with their information

. The fighter who survived the battle stated one of the three men, Alexander Lusnikov, was additionally among the lifeless he collected from the battlefield of Deir al-Zor.

Lusnikov's official info exhibits that on 1 March he died in line with the relative of the demise certificates viewer.

One other relative, Viktor Dumin, the brother of Lusnikov's former wife, stated that the fighter informed him about the circumstances of demise

"When the president was elected, everything came to light," Dumin advised Reuters in the cemetery where Lusnikov was buried.

Neither of the other two army dealers – Alexei Kalabukhov and Konstantin Danilogorsky – had contacted their families after the battle, the childhood pal stated. After understanding the battle, their wives tried to contact them, but they couldn't attain them, the pal added.

Their tombs say their lifeless on February 27, the date when the dying certificates are carried, in accordance with the information of the particulars

The brother of one other fighter from Russia in the west stated he discovered of his sister's dying in Deir al-Zor in mid-February with Syrian contractors, although the demise certificate stated that he died every week later.

He asked to not mention their names, saying he was afraid of worry.


Delayed body returns and false paperwork by associates and kinfolk last week differ from Reuters' standard sequence in two years

. a family two or three weeks after dying, and is accompanied by a dying certificates with a date of dying, which often corresponds to what kin find out about fighters.

The Russian Consulate in Syria is chargeable for recording the dying of Russian civilians killed in the country. Each dying certificate has a serial quantity that starts at the starting of the yr.

On the basis of the paperwork seen by Reuters, Russian consular officers issued greater than 60 demise certificates on 8 April last yr. At the least 33 of these have been between 22 and eight April. The elections have been held on 18 March.

The Russian Consulate in Syria did not reply to requests for comment. Reuters was unable to seek out out whether all these certificates have been for private army commanders.

(Modifying: Cassell Bryan-Low)

The Aliens Office publishes a steady stream of news studies utilized by Reuters as a service supplier for readers, with out further reference to those articles

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