During the offensive in Syria in February 2018, at least 80 mercenaries from the so-called Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) were killed and more than 100 were wounded, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) posted on Facebook.
“The SBU has established the identity of 206 Wagner PMC mercenaries who participated directly in the so-called ‘Prigozhin offensive’. The documents in our possession prove that at least 80 mercenaries died and more than 100 received wounds of various levels of severity,” observed SBU officer Ihor Huskov.
Personal information was provided on 30 wounded and 40 killed Russian mercenaries. According to Huskov, before the presidential elections in Russia, the government attempted to classify the information on the losses in order to keep it secret from the public.
“But after the presidential elections in Russia, relatives of the killed mercenaries, one at a time, under conditions of strict secrecy, began to receive coffins with their loved ones in. However, they continued to blackmail them with non-payment of monetary assistance for the mercenary’s death if they disclosed information,” Huskov explained.
Among the Wagner fighters wounded in Syria in February 2018, one Moldovan citizen was identified and one citizen of Kazakhstan. The wounded also included Russian citizen Andrey Lebedev, who is suspected of involvement in the crash of the Ukrainian Il-76 military plane in the Luhansk airport on June 14, 2014, which led to the death of 49 Ukrainian paratroopers.
“The Russian intelligence services continue to illegally and secretly use the Wagner PMC to achieve the Kremlin’s geopolitical goals in Ukraine, Syria and other regions of the world. By inviting foreign citizens into the ranks of the PMC, the Russian intelligence services are trying to create a trained reserve for unleashing hybrid war in other countries. In the secret hybrid war, the Russian government is deliberately and shamelessly concealing, primarily from Russian civil society, the massive death of Russian citizens within the Wagner PMC,” Huskov emphasized.
Several months ago, dozens of Russian Wagner PMC mercenaries were killed in Syria.