The Kremlin has acknowledged that five Russian citizens may have died in a US bombing in Syria.
“According to preliminary information, we could be talking about the deaths of five people – presumably Russian citizens – as a result of an armed confrontation whose causes are being examined,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists on Thursday.
Moscow’s statement comes after several reports that Russians working in Syria for a security company with links to the Kremlin were injured or killed last week in an attack by the US-led coalition in the province of Deir Ezzor.
Zakharova said that reports suggesting that “dozens or hundreds” of Russians were killed in the attack are “classic disinformation”.
According to data from Syria, on February 7 US-coalition forces came under attack by 300-500 fighters loyal to Bashar-al Assad, including Russian mercenaries, who were trying to take control of oil fields in the area.
The US forces responded by calling in airstrikes during which, depending on the source, anywhere up 200 pro-Assad fighters were killed.
The wounded have been evacuated from Syria and sent to Russian military hospitals.
According to News.com.au unconfirmed reports from the region say that Assad’s forces are preparing to mount a fresh attack on the US-led coalition near where last week’s fighting took place.