Censor.NET reports citing Reuters.
On March 9, 2016, Sergei Morozov, 38, was hit and died on the way to hospital after his unit came under shell-fire near Palmyra. His death was confirmed by the MP. Degtyaryov told Reuters Morozov was a friend and had died in combat during the battle for Palmyra.
According to three people who knew Morozov, he had fought in Ukraine's Donbas along with pro-Russian militants. Then he went to Syria as part of a unit led by a man who goes by the nomme de guerre "Vagner" known as a leader of Russian mercenary forces, one of the sources said.
"Officially, Russia is participating only in an air war over Syria with a small number of special forces on the ground. Moscow denies that its troops are involved in regular ground combat operations.
"However, in interviews with more than a dozen people with direct knowledge of these deployments, Reuters has established that Russian fighters are playing a more substantial role in ground combat than that the role the Kremlin says is being played by the regular Russian military," the publication notes, adding that Russian soldiers arrive in Syria via ships or in military aircraft and often receive awards for their participation in the armed conflict.