ISIS militants have executed both of the Russian citizens they recently captured in Syria, according to State Duma deputy Viktor Vodolatssky, who says Roman Zabolotnyi and Grigory Tsurkanu were killed for refusing to ”recant their Orthodox faith, renounce their country, convert to Islam, and join ISIS.”
“There were faithful to Orthodoxy and the Motherland to the very end, and they were killed for it by these bandits,” Vodolatssky said.
It remains unclear how Vodolatssky knows Zabolotnyi and Tsurkanu were executed, but he says he’s “99 percent sure” that Zabolotnyi has been killed.
Open-source investigators believe Zabolotnyi traveled to Syria to fight in the “Wagner group,” a private military contractor staffed by mercenaries from Russia and Ukraine. The organization has possible financial ties to the Kremlin-connected entrepreneur Evgeny Prigozhin, and its commanders have received awards from the Russian government.
After photos emerged showing Zabolotnyi in captivity, Internet sleuths identified him as a member of a Cossack movement, discovering photos on his Vkontakte page showing him wearing a Cossack uniform. On April 8, 2017, a Cossack group tried to blockade the Navalny campaign’s office in Rostov-on-Don. Zabolotnyi also appears in several other photographs taken during the office’s grand opening.
In late August, Meduza interviewed the journalist who blew the lid on Wagner, publishing the company’s private recruiting records.