Support The Moscow Times!

Two Russian Troops Killed in Syria on New Year’s Eve

Wikicommons

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed the deaths of two helicopter pilots on New Year’s Eve in Syria after a group of independent investigators reported the incident earlier on Wednesday.

President Vladimir Putin declared victory over terrorists in the conflict-torn country during a surprise visit last month and ordered the Russian military to withdraw following a two-year intervention.

The Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), investigative bloggers who monitor the Ukrainian and Syrian wars, said on Wednesday that a Russian attack helicopter crashed in western Syria weeks after Putin’s pullout orders.

"According to posts on a specialized forum, on Dec. 31 a Mi-24 helicopter tripped over power line wires and crashed while escorting a convoy,” the CIT wrote on Facebook.

Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the two pilots had died and added that a flight engineer was also hospitalized, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday. It said that the helicopter crashed due to a technical malfunction and had not come under fire.

Citing the website Forumavia.ru, the independent researchers provided the full name of one of the crew members — Major Artyom Kulish — and identified the second by his last name Matveyev.

“It is currently unknown whether the helicopter was escorting a humanitarian convoy or a combat unit,” the CIT said.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.