The information circulated by media outlets about "hundreds" of Russian citizens killed in the US-led coalition's strike in Syria is a classic example of disinformation, a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
But occasional attacks on pro-regime forces, which the USA says are conducted in self defence, raise the risks of America being sucked into a broader conflict.
One of the dead was 51-year-old Vladimir Loginov. Mercenaries, who've been active in the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and Syria, allow Russian Federation to deny official involvement in operations when things go wrong. The Kremlin says the fighters killed were mercenaries, not Russian soldiers, and thus this wasn't a clash between the two nations' militaries.
"Vladimir died for the Fatherland, the Cossacks and the Orthodox faith!" the group said. The Russians later called their USA counterparts to ask if the strikes had ended so that the attacking force could recover the dead and wounded, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The US-led coalition in Syria opened fire at pro-Syrian government forces last week "in defense" of Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters. A U.S. detachment was at the base.
"Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack", Veale said. Kirill Ananyev was survived by his wife and children. Earlier this week, there was a mass funeral for about 30 members of the militia - which often describes itself as the "ISIS hunters" - in the town.
Mattis called the situation "perplexing", noting that the reported attack on the SDF base, which allegedly brought about the deadly American retaliation, "makes no sense, it does not appear to be anything coordinated by the Russians".
Wagner is registered in Hong Kong and has no public offices in Russian Federation and no contact details. Prigozhin, who's denied any links to Wagner, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2016, which said he has "extensive business dealings" with the Russian Defense Ministry.More news: Olympics: Shiffrin Ready To Sock It To Them
"If there has been mass deaths of Russian citizens in Syria, then the relevant authorities, including the general staff of the Russian armed forces, have a duty to inform the country about this and decide who bears responsibility", Yavlinsky, who is running against Putin in next month's election, said on Twitter. "I think that's still the case but we don't have full clarity on what the regime forces are doing there", Mattis said over the weekend.
Audio recordings emerged on WhatsApp, purporting to be calls between unidentified individuals describing an attack by Russian contractors that were thwarted by the SDF who got help from USA firepower after they "raised the American flag".
They crossed the Euphrates River, shelling an SDF base, where American advisers were present. Some Russian lawmakers have called for legislation that would set rules for private military contractors.
Indeed, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on reports of Russian casualties, saying: "We don't have information about other Russians who might be in Syria".
Syria is simply not within our nation's sphere of interest, nor is there anything to be gained by continued US military involvement in any of the proxy wars now being waged on its soil.
More details about those killed in the strikes began to emerge in the following days.
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.