The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has said that at least 80 mercenaries of the Wagner private military company, who fought on the side of the Syrian army, were killed in the battle in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor on 7 February.
"Today, we have published the first part of the verified information available to the SBU, including the personal data of 40 dead, 30 wounded, as well as a 'dossier' on foreign citizens involved in these events," the head of office of the SBU chief, Ihor Guskov, said.
According to the SBU, Russia has classified this information. To avoid reporting one-off numerous losses, the Russian special services "evenly disperse" them to make it look as if the mercenaries were killed at different times.
In addition to Russians, there were killed militants from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Armenia and Uzbekistan. Information about them was transferred to the authorities of these countries.
On 7 February, pro-government paramilitary groups attacked the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) HQ with US advisers inside it. In response, the US-led coalition carried out a strike during which more than a hundred people were killed. As it turned out, the Russian mercenaries who were in the vicinity of the village of Hisham where they tried to seize an oil field came under fire.
The Russian Defence Ministry has rejected reports about the Russians killed in the air strike. It said there were no Russian servicemen in the area of the incident while "local militia" operated without any coordination with the Russian command.