"The SBU continues informing the public about the crimes committed and losses incurred by the mercenaries of the Private Military Company Wagner. The evidence collected by the agency is confirmed by multiple journalistic investigations carried out by the world's leading and domestic media," the official said.
In February 2018, media reported about heavy casualties inflicted on Wagner PMC in Syria during the so-called "Prigozhyn’s onslaught" in the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province. "The agency identified 206 mercenaries who personally took part in that attack," Huskov said.
The evidence collected by the SBU shows that at least 80 of them were killed and about another hundred received injuries of varying severity. "Today, we release the first part of the information gathered and verified by the SBU, namely personal data of 40 deceased and 30 wounded, as well as files of the foreigners, who took part in these events," the law enforcer said.
When the information about some of the deceased popped up in the media, the top officials of the Russian Federation cynically ordered to completely conceal actual losses from the Russian public ahead of the presidential election. The Russian leadership blatantly lied to the relatives of the deceased by telling them that their loved ones "went missing" while the premature leakage of this information "would harm the search and rescue operation."
Only after the presidential campaign was over in Russia, the relatives of the killed mercenaries started secretively receiving coffins with the bodies of their loved ones while the authorities continued to threaten them with "non-payment of financial assistance in case of disclosure."
One of the wounded in the Syrian Deir ez-Zor province was a militant suspected by the SBU of involvement in bringing down IL-76 cargo plane near Luhansk on June 14, 2014 which claimed lives of 49 Ukrainian servicemen. He was identified as Andrey Nikolaevich Lebedev, the senior gunner of AA-gun squad, which was reported by SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak at a briefing in October 2017.
Ukraine’s Security Service also found that foreign mercenaries, namely nationals of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Moldova, were also wounded in Syria in February 2018. "We have passed this information to our partners since being a mercenary of Wagner PMC is a crime under the legislation of both countries," Huskov said.
SBU repeatedly provided evidence of people with criminal records serving among Wagner mercenaries, including those charged with grave crimes. "This is a common practice of recruitment to the PMC because ‘specific tasks’ fulfilled by the mercenaries require a ‘criminal turn of mind’," the law enforcer said. Among the latest identified individuals, there is an appalling example of a Cossack, a resident of the Russian city of Armavir, Yevgeny Akimochkin, who turned out to be a rapist. But despite heavy charges put against him, he continues serving in the ranks of Wagner PMC in Syria.
Only a part of the available information was disclosed at the briefing. The SBU vows to keep informing the public about the Russian military, members of the Russian secret services, and mercenaries involved in crimes against Ukrainians and citizens of other countries.