An undercover Russian general commanded pro-Russian militants in Donbas — and then died in Syria. News agency Reuters reveals insights into the top officer’s mission in Ukraine.
In 2017, Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov was killed in Syria during the shelling by the ISIS. As stated by the Russian Defense Ministry, head of the Russian military adviser, Lieutenant-General Asapov was at the command post of the Syrian troops. He was mortally wounded after a mine explosion. Asapov was postmortem recommended to a decoration with a high state award. Notably, the Ukrainian side states that Asapov he ran the so-called “1st Army Corps” in Donbas. He was wearing military uniform without any insignia.
According to Reuters’ author Maria Tsvetkova, in the fall of 2015, pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine were introduced to a new commander who, like his predecessors, went by a codename (‘Tuman’), but signed documents as General Primakov.
“When he was killed while on official assignment to Syria two years later, it turns out that this name was also fake, a deception to hide Russia’s central role in a conflict that Moscow and the rebels maintain was entirely homegrown. In fact, Valery Asapov was a Russian general working undercover,” the article reports.
Five rebels independently told Reuters that Asapov was a commander in the armed forces in one of them, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Asapov’s younger brother Vyacheslav also confirmed that his brother was in Ukraine.
“He was there. For an entire year,” he told Reuters in September.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied providing military support for separatists. Asked to comment on Asapov’s case, the Kremlin said it had no information and suggested sending questions to the defense ministry. The ministry did not reply to Reuters’ request for comment.
Belsat.eu, following Reuters