As reported by Censor.NET citing open source investigation carried out by Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), Vasily Yurlin perished in Syria in February.
The team of independent investigators of armed conflicts reached such a conclusion based on the post of his friend on VKontakte.
Yurlin's images suggest that he served in airborne troops of the Russian Armed Forces.
However, the investigators found no evidence of him serving in the Russian army.
"All this indicates that Vasily Yurlin was probably a member of Russia-based Vagner PMC group like Ivan Slyshkin killed on Feb. 12," CIT concluded.
The investigators note that Russia's Defense Ministry will likely not confirm Yurlin's death as the agency was reluctant to response to the inquiry made on him by Russian RBC news agency.
The exact circumstances of his death are not known. According to CIT, Yurlin will be buried in Togliatti on Wednesday, March 8.
Niece of the deceased military Karina Yurlina confirmed information on her uncle's death in Syria.
"He left for Syria to serve under contract and was killed on Feb. 20. His parents were informed about this late last week," she said. She also confirmed that the funeral will be held on March 8.
The mercenary's father Sergey Yurlin also confirmed his son's death to the RBC: "A person called me on Saturday (March 4 - Ed.) and said: 'Your son died in terrorist attack (in Syria - Ed.)." According to Sergey Yurlin, he was initially told that his son was killed on Feb. 20.
"They brought his body today. The papers read that he was killed on Feb. 22. Five people were killed in explosion. Vasya was hurt more than others since he was closer to the blast," Yurlin's father said.
Asked whether his son was a member of a private military company, Sergey Yurlin said: "Yes, a sort of." According to him, his son left for Krasnodar on Jan. 22 and then flew to Syria from there on Feb. 15. "He called me from Damascus on Feb. 16, said he was alright. It was his first trip there," the mercenary's father said.
According to Sergei Yurlin, his son served in Russian Airborne troops for two years between 2002 and 2004.
"He was a veteran of Dagestan, and Chechen campaigns," he added.
Two other Russian soldiers Yuri Slyshkin and Artem Gorbunov were reported killed in Syria on March 6.
The Russian Defense Ministry officially confirmed Gorbunov's death. According to RBC, Slyshkin fought in the ranks of Vagner private military company.
Russian Fontanka news outlet reported on the Vagner PMC group's participation in major battles in Syria in October 2015 for the first time. According to the news outlet, Vagner PMC mercenaries were previously spotted in southeastern Ukraine, where they took part in battles in the ranks of the illegal armed groups of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics".
The Wall Street Journal also made similar reports. The sources close to the person running the PMC told RBC that the private military firm was named after his call sign. An FSB officer who also served under Vagner's command told RBC that the PMC members were undergoing training at the base in Molkino in the Krasnodar Territory which was also the base camp of the detachments of the 10th Separate Special Forces Brigade of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation also known as GRU.
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