Russia’s MoD refutes their soldiers being taken prisoner by Islamic State

On September 28, an Islamic State group posted a video featuring two Russian soldiers it had allegedly captured prisoner in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province.

In the video, one of the prisoners says his name is Roman Zabolotny and mentiones the name of his fellow in misery – Grigory Tsurkanu.

According to the BBC Russian Service, in February 2015 Grigory Tsurkanu joined the organization Combat Brotherhood; even then he was introduced as a participant of military actions in Yugoslavia and Syria.

Alexey Kirin, Commander of Combat Brotherhood Domodedovo department, recognised Tsurkanu in the video. However, he told BBC that he did not know that his friend had left for Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has refuted the allegations.

“All Russian servicemen deployed in Syria are performing their duties. There have been no incidents linked with any capture of prisoners or entailing losses among Russian servicemen either in the province of Deir ez-Zor or in any other Syrian province,” the ministry said on Tuesday.

According to official data of Russia’s MoD, for about 40 Russian soldiers were killed during operations in Syria. Moreover, media outlets repeatedly reported deaths of Russian mercenaries who fought for Bashar al-Assad in the ranks of private military company Wagner.