Three Russian mercenaries from the new private military company (PMC) Shchit (“Shield”) have been killed, Novaya Gazeta reports, citing its own sources and the victims’ relatives.
The mercenaries were reportedly killed during an armed confrontation in the Palmyra region, presumably on 15 July. According to the various pieces of information that the outlet was able to collect, the contractors were killed in mortar fire after their vehicle exploded. One other Russian was injured during the attack.
Novaya writes that two of the casualties had also fought in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, and subsequently in the Wagner PMC. One of them was born in Perm, the other in Khakassia. Serving as contractors under Shield, the soldiers were protecting the facilities of the StroyTransGaz company that belongs to the Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko.
The new PMC is based in the town of Kubinka near Moscow next door to the 45th special forces brigade. The first mentions of the company appeared in the media in 2018, although nothing concrete made it to the press apart from rumors that it had been founded by high-ranking former or incumbent Defense Ministry generals.
According to Novaya’s information, the PMC is directed by Konstantin Mirzoyants, former deputy commander of the 45th brigade, and his colleague Yevgeny Sidorov, who was given a three year sentence in 2014 for sending “Slavonic Corps” mercenaries to Syria.
Earlier it was reported that yet another Russian PMC had begun operating in Syria – Patriot, which is believed to be linked to the Russian Defense Ministry.