Moment US destroys Russian tanks 'killing hundreds of soldiers' as conflict ERUPTS

14 February, 2018, 19:28 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • The indictment was sought through special counsel Robert Mueller who has been tasked with investigating Moscow's efforts to interfere in the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the incident, in which the death toll of private Russian soldiers may have been five times greater than the Russian Defense Ministry's official count of servicemen who have died in Syria.

Russian Federation officially withdrew regular forces from Syria in December after two years of fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad, but hundreds of private military contractors and mercenaries remained.

"'No body, no criminal case' - this Russian investigative principle is being creatively used in the military campaign", Girkin said on the Russian social media website VKontakte. I can't give you anything on that. "We have not received that word at Central Command or at the Pentagon", he told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Mattis also doubted that the Russians control the situation in the region.

"We don't have information about other Russians who might be in Syria".

On Twitter, Russian opposition politician Grigory Yavlinsky called on his country's government to reveal the truth about last week's shocking attack.

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Bloomberg, citing an unnamed US official and three Russians, reported Tuesday that "scores" of Russians were killed in last week's strike in Deir ez-Zour province.

If the numbers are accurate, the strike marks the deadliest exchange between Americans and Russians since the Cold War.

Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, said that officials believed roughly 100 people were killed in the raid, though said he couldn't speculate about their nationality, while Bloomberg reported that the number dead was closer to 200.

We will remind, in result of air strikes of the global coalition led by the U.S. in Syria has killed more than 100 fighters from Pro-government forces.

But he would not comment on whether Russian Federation has influence over the forces that did attack.

Asked about the killing of Russian mercenaries in Syria, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington Tuesday that he would leave specifics to the Pentagon but "we have seen in multiple instances foreign forces using mercenaries in battles that will begin to approach the United States". And U.S. and Russian military officials maintain daily contact to avoid battlefield mishaps.

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One of the first to report the alleged casualties was the former commander of the rebel militia in breakaway Donetsk republic in Ukraine and head of the Novorossiya movement Igor Strelkov.

And responding to a further BBC question, the spokesman said: " And, of course, you have to realise that many countries of the world have quite large numbers of our compatriots - of Russians - and, of course, it's hard to have detailed data. Assad may have hired Wagner to recapture and guard Syrian energy assets in return for lucrative oil concessions, according to Russian media reports. However, he casts doubts on the reports, noting that the whole column, which was alleged bombed out in the U.S. attack, counted "a bit more than 500 people".

The chief Kremlin spokesman has suggested that if any Russians were killed by US air strikes in Syria last week, they were not regular soldiers, continuing to distance President Vladimir Putin's government from reports that several Russian mercenaries - and possibly dozens - died after staging an attack on USA forces and their allies in the Middle Eastern country on February 7. "The fact is that someone chose to attack us, and the Russians said that it is not about them".

For the most part, the US-led coalition has managed to skirt the edges of Syria's civil war by staying focused on the Islamic State group.

Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian Ministry of Defense talks about private military contractors in Syria.

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