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18 February 2018, 05:37 | Clyde Nash
Andrej Isakovic AFP Getty Images
After a week of unanswered questions, Russia acknowledged Thursday that five of its citizens may have been killed by a USA strike in Syria, the first time Russians have died at US hands in Syria's chaotic battlefield.
Instead Russia said that they "do not possess detailed information that would enable us to draw conclusions", and that "It can not be ruled out that there may be citizens of the Russian Federation [fighting] in Syria".
"All of this is subject to confirmation, particularly whether they are all citizens of Russian Federation or other countries..."
The Pentagon has said its air strikes in Deir al-Zor last week targeted Syrian government troops that had attacked a base housing US and Syrian opposition forces, killing about 100 of the attackers.
"The situation where no facts have leaked the public sphere over nearly half-a-year that the investigation is in progress is simply impossible for the U.S.", Lavrov said. They are not connected to the armed forces of the Russian Federation, " Peskov said in a conference call with journalists.
Zakharova also repeated the narrative that the United States is sheltering fighters of the Islamic State, and coming dangerously close to an open confrontation with Syrian forces while supporting Kurdish allies.
"I will not speculate on the composition of this force or whose control they were under", said Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. His comments echoed previous statements from the Defense Ministry, which has said no Russian servicemen were in the area at the time.
Russian authorities deny deploying private military contractors to Syria. She said reports of tens or hundreds of Russian casualties were disinformation inspired by Russia's opponents.
According to Fontanka, Wagner is associated with a Russian company Yevro Polis, which has signed a deal with the Syrian government. The company is run by a former high ranking officer in Russian military intelligence and is tied to the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. "And if some officials in this country find this very hard - no one forces them to stay in power".
Russia on Thursday finally recognised that five Russian citizens - not officially affiliated with the Russian military - were likely killed in the strikes in eastern Syria.
If you've been listening just to the Kremlin and the Pentagon, you probably didn't know that Russian Federation attacked American forces and their allies in Syria last week, suffering heavy casualties.
Along with the Russian military, which has supported Syrian President Bashar Assad's government since September 2015, thousands of Russians have also reportedly fought there as private contractors.
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