• 08:01
  • 27.04.2018

Свежая новость:  You’ve been going to the toilet wrong

Wagner: Russia’s secret army operating in Syria
политика
27.04.2018

Wagner: Russia’s secret army operating in Syria

узнать больше
Before he was killed by a sniper in Syria, Ivan Slyshkin wrote a loving message to his fiancee on social media: “We will see each other soon — and I will hold you as tight as I possibly can.”

But the 23-year-old’s name won’t be found in the Russian Defense Ministry’s official casualties in the fight against Islamic State.

That’s because the young man who left his hometown of Ozyorsk in the Ural Mountains was one of thousands of Russians deployed to Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor known as Wagner, which the government won’t talk about.
Saakashvili supporters clash with police

Slyshkin’s gravestone shows him holding a machine gun, and was inundated by flowers at his funeral where his friends told local media he joined Wagner to pay for his wedding.

“He was in Wagner’s group,” his friend Andrei Zotov told The Associated Press, adding that Slyshkin was killed on the Al-Shayer oilfield north of Palmyra.

“There are many good guys there. He volunteered to join the company,” Zotov said. “Like many Russian fighters, he wanted to solve his money issues.”
Trump allies say emails unlawfully gained

SHADOWY SECRET FORCE

Slyshkin’s death adds to the increasing spotlight on a secretive mercenary force that is coming into focus thanks to dogged investigative reporting from St Petersburg-based website Fontanka, the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) and Associated Press.

While the Russian government has denied its existence, friends and families of those killed are also beginning to speak out. Estimates on the size of the Wagner force range from 3000 to as many as 25,000, paid to serve as “shock troops” in Syria.
Powerful winds raise California fire risk

The girlfriend of one man killed recently claimed that fighters were told they would be paid around $4000 per month and be given missions that “would make anyone’s hair stand on end”. She said conditions rarely met what was promised and families were paid out between $22,000 and $52,000 for deaths depending on rank

While private contractors have been used by countries like the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan for years, Russian law forbids the hiring of mercenaries or working as one. Wagner’s operations are believed to replicate a similar model of a “patchwork” of forces used in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The fighters have played a crucial role in helping to turn the tide of the Syrian civil war in the favour of Russian ally and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Bethlehem peace light arrives in Germany

The secretive deployment also helps keep the official death toll low ahead of Putin’s election campaign next year.

“The Russian people are not very enthused by the idea of an empire that would involve their boys coming home in body bags. There’s clearly a lack enthusiasm for this conflict,” said Mark Galeotti, senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.

“By having this military company Wagner, they can have a force they can actually deploy ... but when people die, it doesn’t have to be announced,” Galeotti said.
Thousands rally in Pakistan against Trump

The Russian Defense Ministry has said 41 of its troops have died in Syria. But according to Fontanka, another 73 private contractors have been killed there.

The news organisation has obtained what it described as Wagner’s spreadsheets and recruitment forms that indicate thousands of Russians have fought in Syria. Of about 3000 Wagner employees deployed to Syria over the years, the single largest contingent at a given time has been about 1500, said Fontanka reporter Denis Korotkov. Since 2015, at least 73 of them have died, he said.

The CIT put the number of private contractor deaths at 101. Both outlets say those are conservative estimates.
Germany cuts its migration to 200,000

“The most important proof is people, dead and alive, who have said they are mercenaries and their relatives say there are mercenaries,” said CIT founder Ruslan Leviev.

“How would hundreds of people all over the country collude and come up with the same story?”

Activists with CIT made a name for the group by combing social media and other records for Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and are doing the same for Syria. Both Fontanka and CIT published photos from what they called a Wagner training base in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia. Some of the facilities look identical to those seen in official Defense Ministry photos of a military base in Molkino, in the same area.
Trump 'not considering' firing Mueller

Secret agreements and generous compensation have previously prevented families from speaking out, however deaths have made news in other ways.

In October, the Islamic State group released video of two Russian captives it said had been fighting in Syria, and one of them identified himself as Roman Zabolotny and said the other was Grigory Tsurkanu.

The Defense Ministry denied they were Russian servicemen and media reports said they were working for Wagner. Their fate at the hands of the extremists is unknown.
Sixth anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death

LINKS TO THE VERY TOP
The Wagner group was founded by retired Lt Colonel Dmitry Utkin, who came under US sanctions in June after the Treasury Department said the company had recruited former soldiers to join the separatists fighting in Ukraine. Utkin was photographed a year ago at a Kremlin banquet thrown by Putin to honour military veterans.
Trump makes 'robo-call' for Roy Moore

Also under US sanctions is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the St Petersburg entrepreneur dubbed “Putin’s chef” by Russian media because of his restaurants and catering businesses that once hosted the Kremlin leader’s dinners with foreign dignitaries. In the more than 10 years since establishing a relationship with Putin, his business expanded to other services for the military. Earlier this year, an anti-corruption foundation run by opposition leader Alexei Navalny detailed how Prigozhin’s firms have come to dominate Defense Ministry contracts. The US State Department put Prigozhin on its sanctions list in 2016 related to the Ukrainian conflict, citing his “extensive business dealings” with the Defense Ministry.

Among the firms linked to Prigozhin is Evro Polis, a Moscow-registered company that Fontanka reported has become a front for Wagner’s operations in Syria.

In 2016 Evro Polis listed the sale of food products as its core activities, according to the Spark Interfax database. But this year, it listed mining, oil and gas production, and opened an office in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The AP obtained a copy of a 47-page contract between Evro Polis and Syria’s state-owned General Petroleum Corp which said the Russian company would receive 25 per cent of the proceeds from oil and gas production at fields its contractors capture and secure from Islamic State militants.
Trump avoids senator race amid sex claims

While the five-year contract could not be authenticated, Fontanka reported the same deal in June. “The link between Evro Polis and Prigozhin is significant and is not in doubt,” said Fontanka’s Korotkov.

“We believe that this firm is just a cover for the private company Wagner, and it could be an attempt to legalise this group, possibly for a commercial use later on.”

Both Evro Polis and Prigozhin’s Concorde Management and Consulting were unavailable for comment, and the Defense Ministry did not reply to AP’s request for comment.
Qatar emir open to Trump-hosted talks

Syria’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources declined comment when asked about the Evro Polis deal. Asked about the contract, the Russian Energy Ministry told Fontanka it cannot divulge “commercial secrets” and declined comment to the AP.

As the Russian campaign in Syria draws to a close, the private contractors will probably stay, analysts say.

Wagner is “likely to cement its footing because we saw that there were not only military goals to pursue ... but there is a commercial motive,” Leviev said. “Someone needs to guard the oilfields.”
US, Russia in new spy plane spat
3824008
узнать больше
Важно знать
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber take off on private jet together
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Ed Sheeran reveals he wrote James Bond theme three years ago
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Jazz and pop singer Keely Smith dies at 89
image
происшествия
27.04.2018
Honduran president's sister dies in crash
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Controversies rock Hollywood in 2017
image
политика
27.04.2018
South Africa's ANC to elect new leader
image
происшествия
27.04.2018
Four dead in UN food program ambush
image
политика
27.04.2018
Exiled king's remains reburied in Italy
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Last Jedi set for $215m opening in US
image
политика
27.04.2018
Saakashvili supporters clash with police
image
политика
27.04.2018
Trump allies say emails unlawfully gained
image
политика
27.04.2018
Powerful winds raise California fire risk
image
политика
27.04.2018
Bethlehem peace light arrives in Germany
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Assault laws in focus amid Weinstein saga
image
политика
27.04.2018
Thousands rally in Pakistan against Trump
image
политика
27.04.2018
Germany cuts its migration to 200,000
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
The untold truth of Omarosa
image
политика
27.04.2018
Trump 'not considering' firing Mueller
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Camille Grammer opens up about cancer diagnosis
image
происшествия
27.04.2018
Mysterious deaths of billionaire couple
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Billionaire conservative wins Chile vote
image
политика
27.04.2018
Sixth anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death
image
шоу-биз
27.04.2018
Royal shock: ‘Spacey groped me’
image
политика
27.04.2018
Trump makes 'robo-call' for Roy Moore