InformNapalm started publishing the data on the leadership of Wagner PMC who are responsible for the incident which resulted in the deaths of dozens to hundreds of Russian mercenaries and servicemen according to various sources.
The news about elimination of a large group of fighters from the so-called "Wagner PMC" which suffered significant losses near the Syrian town of Khisham near Deir ez-Zor on Feb. 7 has been viral for almost two weeks. The Russian side tried to hide the deaths of Russian citizens, but the media, bloggers and activists continued to search for and publish more details about the assault and its participants. Testimonies from the relatives of the killed also surfaced. Some of the killed mercenaries also fought in the war in eastern Ukraine. Though Wagner is called a private military company, many experts consider this structure to be closely connected with the Russian GRU and Special Operations Forces and also call it "Putin’s personal army for doing dirty work". It has proved itself well within the framework of the concept of a "hybrid war" that Russia is waging against other countries. And the unsuccessful attempt to seize the oil and gas deposits in Syria, which resulted in a huge loss of manpower for the Russians, only confirms this assumption.
It may turn out that among the killed at Deir ez-Zor were not only mercenaries, but also regular Russian servicemen. After the US artillery and air strikes, the Russian military command in Syria requested a cease-fire to recover the wounded and dead. As reported by Bloomberg, the wounded were brought to Defense Ministry hospitals in St. Petersburg and Moscow. At the same time, the Russian special services concentrated their efforts at preventing the leakage of information. And even Russian President Vladimir Putin, for some reason, canceled some of his meetings and disappeared from the public eye under the pretext of a sudden illness.
In the middle of February, we noticed a new stage in the information operation of Russian special services. From hushing up and attempting to hide information they go on to create information noise throwing rough fakes with unreliable lists. For example, one of these fake lists was presented by a well-known Russian blogger El Murid and shared on several Telegram channels and social media.
This is done in order to promptly disprove unreliable reports, to convince the internal Russian audience that other data files are fake and nothing can be trusted. That is, forget about the facts and evidence inconvenient for the Kremlin, forget who and why sent hundreds of Russian soldiers to be slaughtered by the U.S. weapons. For example, on Feb.18, the propaganda site Russian Spring already published an article according to this tutorial (archive).
The person in charge of planning operations, including the disastrous offensive near Deir ez-Zor, is Sergei Borisovich Kim, born on July 23, 1973, a Russian citizen, registered in St. Petersburg, personal military ID number M-0971. He holds the post of Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief of Operations in Wagner PMC. It was he who masterminded the failed operation and coordinated it with his command from Russia’s official military contingent in Syria and ignored the warning of Americans. Sergei Kim used to follow the chain of command: he served in the naval infantry of the Russian Navy before joining Wagner PMC. He gave orders, coordinating clearly with the Russian military command in Syria. Sergei Kim is responsible not only for hundreds of killed and injured Russian fighters in Syria, but also for numerous casualties among civilians and Ukrainian troops in the Donbas as Wagner PMC performed its dirty work for Putin during the fighting in Ukraine's east.