The Kremlin does not exclude the presence of Russian citizens in Syria, who are not affiliated with the Russian Armed Forces.
During a meeting with journalists on Wednesday, February 14, press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, was asked questions about the status of those people for the Kremlin, who fight in Syria.
"We in the Kremlin do not have detailed information that would allow us to draw any conclusions. It can not be ruled out that citizens of the Russian Federation can be in Syria. They are not affiliated with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation," Peskov said, adding that the citizens of the Russian Federation "remain citizens of the Russian Federation, whatever it takes."
Peskov was also asked whether the Russian government was going to declare mourning "in connection with the death of a large number of citizens" in Syria. Putin's spokesman said that the Kremlin did not know anything about the number of victims.
"Once again, we urge you not to be guided by erroneous information - deliberately or inadvertently erroneous information - and approach the description of such potentially important episodes seriously, so as not to be misled by distorted data," Peskov said.
For the time being, the information about the number of Russians, who were killed as a result of the drone attack of the US-led coalition, remains highly contradictory. According to Bloomberg, for instance, over 200 Russian mercenaries were killed in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor in the area of the former oil refinery El Isba. Reuters reported the killings of more than 100 "pro-Assad fighters," including Russians. According to a Russian military source of the Kommersant newspaper, the number of Russian citizens, who were killed on February 7 in Syria was eleven people. In turn, spokespeople for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that reports about "hundreds of killed Russians were examples of "classic misinformation, which Western media are engaged into."