The two Russian mercenaries captured by ISIS jihadists are feared to have been executed already because they rejected to read a statement saying they have renounced their Christian faith to become Muslims. They declined as well to turn their backs on their motherland. They also refused to say on camera that they have joined the terrorist group.
Roman Zabolotny, 39, and Grigory Tsurkanu , 38 are believed to have been battling for a private Russian mercenary force composed of ex-servicemen which fought in Crimea and eastern Ukraine before Syria.
The two were held by jihadists around the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, the last ISIS stronghold in the country.
An inaccurate report by ISIS news agency Amak released earlier this week with the two claimed that the men were serving Russian soldiers. Senior Russian MP Viktor Vodolatsky said that they are certain the two are dead already. He said:
“It is very sad but 99 percent Roman Zabolotny is not alive, nor is the second prisoner.” He added that: “They stayed loyal to their orthodox faith and their motherland until the very end.”
There is no confirmation yet on the status of Russian mercenaries from the government of Vladimir Putin. The observation is that the Putin government is coy when speaking about mercenary forces in Syria and other hot spots, even as experts insist they work closely with the armed forces.
Another local MP in Rostov-on-Don, Zabolotny’’s home city, also confirmed that the pair has been executed, claiming it happened the day after the video was made. The MP, Anatoly Kotlyarov, said his source is trustworthy. He wouldn’t, however, say if there have been secret negotiations between Russian forces and ISIS over the captives.
He said of Zabolotny: “He is dead. Those bastards executed him.”
Zabolotny was devoted to his Orthodox faith and he went to Syria to protect the Christians from terrorists. A Russian group earlier offered to pay $1 million to ISIS for each of the men in exchange for the pair’s freedom.
Zabolotny’s family says they do not have information on their captured loved one’s true state, and are still grappling with the pain of uncertainties and worries. One relative said they believe negotiations are still ongoing , and that they have no information if Zabolotny is dead.
Zabolotny’s father Vasily expressed his hurt: “I am worried about my son, I am hardly coping. I am on the edge, sorry, I don’t want to speak more.”
As for Tsurkanu, it was reported earlier by the media that his parents had been told by the FSB secret service ‘not to make any noise’ in the media since there are hopes he would be released soon. Tsurkanu was a former Russian paratrooper in the intelligence section of the country’s air assault forces.