The grave of special forces officer Maxim Sorochenko, who died in Syria in 2015, in a cemetery outside Moscow. The true level of casualties is a sensitive subject. REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova
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Ten Russian servicemen have been killed fighting in Syria so far this year, according to statements from the Defense Ministry.That tally over seven months exceeds the 36 Russian armed personnel and contractors estimated by Reuters to have been killed in Syria over the previous 15 months, indicating a significant rise in the rate of battlefield losses as the country's involvement deepens.Months after soldiers die, Russia quietly acknowledges some losses, including private military contractors.The last time Russia lost airmen in Syria was in August 2016, and it suffered its first serious casualties on the ground this year in January, when six private military contractors died in one day.Russian authorities disclosed that 23 servicemen were killed in Syria over 15 months in 2015-2016, whereas Reuters calculated the death toll at 36, a figure that included private contractors.Private military companies officially don't exist in Russia.Reuters was unable to get in touch with commanders of Russian private contractors in Syria through people who know them.Reuters was unable to find out where in Syria he was killed.
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