First Russian soldier dies in Syria

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A 19-year-old Russian soldier died in Syria on Saturday, the first confirmed casualty among the estimated 2,000 Russian military personnel who have been conducting and supporting air strikes on Syrian rebels and terrorist groups since September 30.

Vadim Kostenko was killed in service and is due to be buried in his home village of Grechanaya Balka “soon”, said Conflict Intelligence Team, a group linked to Russian blogger Ruslan Leviev who has been following Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine and Syria.

Russia’s ministry of defence said it could neither confirm nor deny Kostenko’s death. A spokesperson said it was unclear how long the ministry would need to check the information.

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