The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has published information on another eight mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) who were killed in Syria on February 7, 2018, in a clash with US forces, SBU spokesman Ihor Huskov told Ukrainsky Novyny ( Ukrainian News).
“Russia officially said their were five casualties, but we have constantly been publishing information confirming the deaths of 50 people. Today I can present you with information on another eight casualties, two of whom were citizens of Ukraine,” Huskov noted.
The casualties included:
Rassokhin Ilya Borisovich (12.08.1978, native of Novosibirsk, Russia),
Vislobokov Vitaly Alexandrovich (14.04.1975, native of Asbest, Russia
Semuchin Sergey Alexandrovich (26.06.1986, native of Arkhangelsk, Russia),
Ohanesyan Roman Heorhiyevich (16.02.1976, native of the Donetsk province, Ukraine),
Vazhov Anton Yuryevich (01.10.1984, native of Sasykoli, Russia),
Lu Vladimir Vladimirovich (24.09.1982, native of Khabarovsk, Russia),
Porotnikov Sergey Yegovorich (04.12.1961, resident of Verkhnyaya Tura, Russia),
Korolenko Oleg Arkadyevich (22.07.1974, native of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea).
Almost all of the Wagner mercenaries who died in Syria between 2014-2016 had been involved in conflict in the Donbas on the side of the Russian terrorist groups. According to the SBU website, several of them actively facilitated the Russian annexation of Crimea (Korolenko A.A.), or were sent by Russian intelligence into territory controlled by Ukraine in order to carry out acts of terror and sabotage (Oganesyan R.G., arrested in July 2014 in Ukraine’s Dniepropetrovsk province, later exchanged for Ukrainian hostages).
“Thus the confirmed number of Wagner mercenaries who were killed or died from wounds as a result of the military encounter of 07.02.2018 is already 58,” the SBU observes.
On its website, the SBU has published a list of 206 freelance Russian military intelligence operatives from the Wagner PMC who were previously identified by the SBU as participants in the February developments in Syria.
On February 7, the US-led coalition forces conducted the strike against the Syrian militia affiliated with Assad in the province of Deir ez Zor. The U.S. coalition said that the blow was struck in response to an attack on the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). According to the media, mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Company were killed as a result of the airstrike. The exact number of casualties is not known, but several reports have cited figures in the hundreds.
The Russian Ministry of Defense denies that Russians were killed in the airstrike. The Ministry claims that there were no Russian soldiers in the region, only “local militia” who were acting entirely independently of the Russian command.
According to the media, the Wagner Group was created in 2014 by reserve lieutenant colonel Dmitry Utkin. Initially the mercenaries fought in the Donbas on the side of the pro-Russian militants, and later they went to Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry does not acknowledge that the private military company fighters are taking part in the operation in Syria.
The Wagner Group is believed to be connected to the Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s chef”. Earlier, someone with the same name as Utkin was appointed CEO of the company “Conchord Management and Consulting”, which oversees Prigozhin’s restaurant business. Prigozhin himself denies having any connection to the Wagner Group.