Russia denies one of its servicemen executed by ISIS in Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s defence ministry denied on Tuesday (May 9) that a Russian serviceman had been captured and executed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria, Russian news agencies reported.  

The US-based SITE monitoring website reported on Tuesday that ISIS had issued a video showing the beheading of someone it described as a Russian intelligence officer captured in Syria.  

The Russian defence ministry did not reply to a Reuters request seeking comment.

The 12-minute Russian-language video, released on the day Russia celebrated the anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany with military parades, showed the man dressed in a black jump suit kneeling in a desert scene and urging other Russian agents to surrender.

"This idiot believed the promises of his state not to abandon him if he was captured," a narrator says in the recording, before the man was beheaded by a bearded man dressed in combat fatigues.

The authenticity of the recording and the identity of the man could not immediately be verified, nor was it clear when the killing occurred.

Russian senator Viktor Ozerov, who heads the defence committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, said the defence ministry would check the authenticity of the video.

"Even if it is a fake, it shouldn't be left without attention," Ozerov told Russia's Interfax news agency. "If it happened, then there will be hell to pay."

Russian forces are backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his war with rebels and militants seeking to oust him. The video showed scenes of what it described as the aftermath of Russian bombing raids in Syria.

The Russian defence ministry says about 30 Russian servicemen have been killed since the start of the Kremlin's operation there in September 2015.