Mercenaries killed in U.S. strike in Syria were part of ‘Russian-backed hybrid force’

Mercenaries killed in U.S. strike in Syria were part of ‘Russian-backed hybrid force’

[Ed. – Reporting on the “Wagner group” has been out there for a while.  Although much Western reporting, like Gertz’s, cites Ukrainian sources, there are others, including AP and an independent Russian site.]

Dozens of Russian mercenaries killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria last week were part of a secret Kremlin-backed private military company, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials.

The dead fighters worked for the Wagner company, part of Moscow’s use of hybrid warfare—covert military and influence operations that include use of so-called “little green men”—unconventional forces operating without official insignia. The forces were first seen in 2014 during the military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea by Russia. …

The unacknowledged nature of the covert Russian paramilitary group prompted Moscow to deny that any Russian troops were among the forces targeted in the bombing strike. The Central Command communicates with the Russians prior to such airstrikes to avoid unintended casualties.

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