An alleged fighter of the Wagner PMC from the video of the execution of a man in Syria revealed

An alleged fighter of the Wagner PMC from the video of the execution of a man in Syria revealed

Below is a translation of the article from one of Russian media.

The St. Petersburg edition of Fontanka claims to have revealed a person who is present on the video about torture and execution of a man filmed in Syria in 2017 and later published by Novaya Gazeta. Presumably, this is a 39-year-old former military man from Bryansk named Ruslan. Journalists associate him with the private military company Wagner. Familiar men identified him on a group photo taken on the day of the murder.

The Wagner Group is an unofficial armed group, often referred to in the media as the Russian private military company (PMC Wagner, ChVK «Wagner»). It is alleged that the group operated on the territory of Ukraine and Syria since 2014.

In June 2017, the Wagner PMC was included in the U.S. sanctions list. In a sense, this legalized its generally accepted name, since the organization was named Wagner PMC in this list and is included in the section «Designations of Ukrainian Separatists» (E.O. 13660 — Designations of Ukrainian Separatists).

According to Fontanka, Ruslan had been previously participated in active combat in Chechnya. In 2017, according to his acquaintances, he went on a business trip to Syria. Fontanka found the passport data of Ruslan and information that he was on a charter flight to Syria from Rostov. Now, according to the newspaper, the man is engaged in patriotic education of young people. His photos in Cossack uniform are available on social networks.

Ruslan himself said in a conversation with Fontanka that he had never been to Syria, had not been a member of a private military company, and had not left Bryansk in 2017. Ruslan promised to provide the publication with a photo of his passport, but eventually did not do so. According to the man, now he works as a volunteer at the Governor’s Gagarin Palace of Children’s and Youth Creativity in Bryansk, and participates in school competitions on orienteering and tourism.

In 2017, a video of four people beating a fifth person with a sledgehammer was published on the Internet. The new recordings, released in November 2019, show that the person is then dismembered and burned. On 20 November, Novaya Gazeta reported that a fighter from the private military company Wagner, a former policeman from Stavropol, was present on the video. In total, according to Fontanka, six people participated in the execution.