Russian soldier dies
MOSCOW: A Russian soldier has died while serving in Syria although the cause of his death was unclear, two people close to his family told AFP on Tuesday, but there was no official confirmation. Vadim Kostenko, 19, from the southern Krasnodar region, “went to Syria as a contract soldier,” a person close to the family said by phone from Krasnodar. “He is dead,” said the person, adding that the cause of the death was unclear and that he may not have died in combat. The soldier is expected to be buried “in the middle of the week,” he said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. Grigory Donskikh, who served with Kostenko in Russia and knows him well, confirmed his death but said he did not know how he died. “He has not arrived yet,” Donskikh said, referring to Kostenko’s body. The defence ministry in Moscow declined to comment when asked about Kostenko by AFP on Tuesday.