Russian hostages in Syria identified as former Donbass defenders

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October 4 , 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

RBC – by Inessa Sinchougova

The identity of one of the two captured Russians in Syria has been confirmed by a friend. According to him, Roman Zabolotny, who was previously recognized as such, is a member of the Cossack society, from Rostov-on-Don.

The friend of Roman Zabolotniy recognized him in the video published by ISIS militants. According to him, Zabolotny was sent to Syria with a private military company, Wagner.

“The last time we spoke was just before he left for Syria. He came from Rostov-on-Don to Wagner PMC in Molkino on July 3, on his birthday. From there he called me and invited me to celebrate. I arrived, and then he told me that he was in fact on his way to Syria,” Zabolotnyi’s friend said, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Roman mentioned that the job pays 300 thousand rubles a month ($5, 200 USD) – and he’s a chef by profession – you won’t get that much anywhere for such work. He called me and our mutual friends, but no one wanted him to go” the source said.

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Wagner private military company is officially sanctioned by the US. 

Earlier Zabolotny also traveled to the Donbass through Wagner. “I know that he served as a contractor with Russians,” confirmed the prisoner’s friend.

The second captive Russian, Grigory Turcanu, was identified by his brother Roman. According to Roman Turcanu, the video distributed by the militants is not staged. He also said that his brother, taken prisoner, went to Syria in May of this year through Wagner PMC, and was not officially employed as a Russian soldier by the Ministry of Defense.

Turcanu, as Zabolotny, also served in the Donbass. He was there twice, the first time in 2014.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the situation of Russians in captivity of ISIS militants, said that the work is complicated by the fact that the terrorist group “did not make any demands for the release of hostages”. There is little progress on their release.

As a reminder, on October 3, a video recording appeared , in which two men speak in Russian, saying that they have been captured in Syria. This occurred during the counteroffensive of ISIS near the settlement of Ash-Shulaa. Their current fate is unknown. 

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