Russian mercenaries secretly helping Assad in Syria are buying virgin ‘wives’ for £75 and beheading prisoners… just like the jihadists they’re fighting, ex-soldier reveals
- Mercenaries from Russia ‘buying Syrian virgins for £75 a year as sexual partners’
- Clandestine Russian forces also behead captured jihadists for just £13 each time
- Moscow has repeatedly denied deploying any mercenaries in war-torn country
- But an ex-Russian army man serving as a mercenary has revealed secrets of the deployment
These clandestine Russian forces also decapitate captured jihadists receiving a bounty of £13 for each beheaded ISIS fighter, claimed a veteran hired gun.
Moscow has denied deploying mercenaries in the country but in recent days two members of these unofficial private armies were seized by ISIS and are believed to have been beheaded.
Now an ex-Russian army man serving as a mercenary has revealed secrets of the deployment, often at the frontline facing jihadist forces.
Mercenaries from Russia (file picture) are ‘buying’ Syrian virgins for £75 a year as sexual partners as they fight a secret war against jihadists in support of Damascus dictator Bashar al-Assad, it has been reported
Asked about rest and relaxation in war-ravaged Syria, he said the Russian fighters bought virgins to act as ‘wives’ either for a year for £75 or ‘forever’ at a cost of £1,130 to £1,500.
A succession of Russian showbusiness stars have flown in to entertain Vladimir Putin’s official troops stationed in the country.
But the mercenary fighters are not even officially acknowledged as being there, and not permitted to attend or socialise with the regular armed forces, said Sergey from Donetsk, a former lawyer in his 30s, who has been a mercenary for four years first in eastern Ukraine – where Russia also denied deploying such forces – then Syria.
‘It is boring sometimes. But you can buy a wife,’ he said. ‘A virgin from a good family costs $100 for a year. If you take her forever, then it’s $1,500-2,000.
‘It’s easier to buy than to search for one. I know guys who got papers sorted for such brides and later took them back to Russia with them.
‘But it’s mainly officers who can afford them.’
He revealed that private army mercenaries like him receive no Russian medals – and if they are killed in action, their bodies will not be flown home.
They call Syria the ‘sandbox’ and know that ‘if something happens, no one will rescue them’, revealed Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.
‘Their contract states that freight-200 (corpses) are not returned. Too expensive.’
Sergey said: ‘We are not given awards…..Our trip’s aim is salary. Without patriotism.’
Many were fooled into thinking their tours would not be too dangerous, he said.
‘Our recruiters were telling us: “You’ll be protecting communications, checkpoints, oil derricks, rebuilding plants. And when we arrived – surprise! – it’s the assault battalion”.’
Contracts specify that mercenaries do not speak about their work, indeed they are urged not even to tell their families where they are going.
‘I signed an agreement,’ he said. ‘There is a list of thing that we need to do, responsibilities, but no rights.
‘If you violate some article, for example, drinks at the front, you are fined. The whole unit is fined. But [people] drink little, it’s too hot. But vodka in Syria is good.’
He is paid £1,960 a month – ‘my wife is pregnant, I have two children, a son and daughter, my parents are old.
‘I wouldn’t earn it even in a year. Even if I am fooled and paid less, it’s still better than nothing.’
Roman Zabolotny is believed to have been beheaded along with his colleague in a town centre execution
Two such private armies are operating now in Syria, he said, one called Wagner, the other Turan, and officially ‘they have no relation to Russia’s official military institutions’, although on the ground work in tandem are essential for the success of Putin’s military operations.
When they flew by charter plane to Lattakia they were told to say there were ‘peacemakers’.
‘We had those with jail terms, those who couldn’t find a job at home, had no money, former volunteers who came to military training in Rostov, militants, even ethnic Ukrainians, including those who were fighting against us in Donbas (eastern Ukraine),’ he said.
‘When the very first combatants were sent there, selection was strict, some say there even was competition.
‘Now they are taking everyone. I personally have seen an amputee, a person with no arm, he is a machine gunner. How can he shoot?
‘It seems to me that recruiters are lately paid for a number of recruited, not for the quality. That’s why there are so many stupid losses.’
Recent reports highlighted how jihadists captured bearded father of two Roman Zabolotny, 39, and his comrade Grigory Tsurkanu, 38, – both are believed to have been executed by beheading in a town square as fanatics cheered.
The pair were said to have refused to give up their Orthodox faith and become ISIS-backing Muslims.
Wagner – or Vagner – is the nickname of an ex-Russian special forces officer called Dmitry Utkin (circled) who runs the private army
Utkin is shown on the far right of a picture of Wagner chiefs with Putin (centre) at a Kremlin ceremony
‘They were from the group who came in May,’ he said. ‘150 arrived here then, and in the first fight there were 19 freight-200s (killed). Numbers are simply hidden.
‘The media are getting minimal information about what’s happening. The latest who arrived… their training was such that it was clear, they’ll be dead.’
Asked if he saw the pair who died as heroes, he said: ‘Don’t make me swear. They got cold feet. Because normal guys wouldn’t allow to be captured alive.’
He claimed the Russian mercenaries are also beheading jihadists.
‘Ours also cut them off. Why should I drag a whole body across the desert? At first their heads were paid at 5,000 roubles each (£65) for an ISIS man.
‘Our guys brought bunches of them. This is why the price was dropped – it was necessary to stop scaring locals. Lately they were paid 1,000 roubles (£13).
‘I don’t know exactly because I am not doing it myself.’
Families get compensation of around £39,000 for mercenaries killed in action, and £11,700 is paid for the wounded.
‘It is clear no-one will drag your corpse to the motherland because it’s too expensive and there isn’t much sense in it.
‘Three million roubles paid for the dead, a living person will only earn in two years.
Earlier this year mercenary Ivan Slyshkin, 23, was fatally shot in the head after joining Wagner’s private army to earn money for his wedding to girlfriend Kristina Gainutdinova, 20
‘But if you are injured while not wearing bulletproof vest or helmet, you might not be paid anything. And the vest weighs 18 kilograms. Who’ll be dragging it on him in such heat? You are also fined for it.
‘But the families of those two whose heads were cut off will receive all the payments for sure – because the media made a noise.’
He complained that the mercenaries are issued dud weapons.
‘Equipment is old, exhausted, produced long time ago,’ he said. ‘Chinese machine guns are given to us.’
Earlier this year mercenary Ivan Slyshkin, 23, was fatally shot in the head after joining Wagner’s private army to earn money for his wedding to girlfriend Kristina Gainutdinova, 20.
His comrades raised money for his corpse to be returned to Russian for a funeral.
Ruslan Leviev, founder of Conflict Intelligence independent investigation group, said: ‘Our experience of watching this conflict tells us that Wagner private army mercenaries are the first to fight.
‘We think it is a strategy of the Defence Ministry of Russia: sending mercenaries to the hottest places, we avoid losses among official soldiers and keep the image of a successful combat operation.’
RBC news agency claimed earlier this year that the Wagner forces had cost Russia £145 million during the Syrian conflict.
Wagner – or Vagner – is the nickname of an ex-Russian special forces officer called Dmitry Utkin who runs the private army.
He is reported to be the ex commander of the famous Pskov special forces brigade.
He is shown on the far right of a picture of Wagner chiefs with Putin at a Kremlin ceremony.
Other leaders include decorated former senior Russian army personnel.
The force enabled Russia to deploy in Crimea, other areas of Ukraine and Syria, while denying its soldiers were on the ground.
The funding for the secret army is believed to come from Russia’s military budget.