Ukraine says bodies of Russian mercenaries have tags 'showing Syrian phone numbers'

Ukraine says bodies of Russian mercenaries have tags 'showing Syrian phone numbers'
Ukraine's Defence Ministry claims that it has found tags displaying Syrian phone numbers on the bodies of Russian mercenaries killed during the invasion of the country.
2 min read
10 March, 2022
Ukrainian forces say they have inflicted heavy losses on invading Russian troops and mercenaries [Getty]

Dog tags displaying Syrian telephone numbers have been found on the bodies of Russian mercenaries killed in the current Ukraine war, a Facebook page affiliated with the Ukrainian defence ministry has claimed.

A post on the page, which belongs to the defence ministry's "Main Intelligence Directorate", included a photo of the military tags, which showed a website and a phone number with a Syrian country code on one side, and text reading "Please help and contact us" in English, French, and Arabic.

The post said that the tags were found on mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group - ostensibly a private security firm but closely affiliated to the Russian state - who had previously taken part in the Syrian conflict.

"Wagnerists are already dying on the territory of Ukraine," the defence ministry's post said.

It did not say how many tags were found and how many Wagner mercenaries were killed.

The Business Insider news website said that it could not access the website displayed on one of the tags and that calls to the phone number displayed were sent to an automated voice message saying the number was unavailable.

E-mails sent to the address shown returned a reply saying that the address had been "hijacked by Anonymous".

Wagner Group mercenaries have taken part in conflicts around the world, including in Syria, Libya, and the Central African Republic and it is believed to be financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch and close ally of President Vladimir Putin.