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A Russian Major Is Killed in Syria — But Why Is MoD Withholding Basic Details?

Is it so it can massage the story and weave a more 'heroic' tale? We hope not

Another Russian soldier has lost his life in Syria. According to the Russian Defense Ministry he was an instructor killed in a firefight when rebels attempted to storm a Syrian army base.


Russian military adviser Major Sergei Bordov was killed during militants' attack on a Syrian Army garrison. He prevented the terrorists from entering the facility at the cost of his life, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"In Syria, Russian military adviser Major Sergei Bordov was killed as a result of a militant attack. The serviceman was a member of a unit training Syrian troops," it read.

The ministry underscored that the officer organized the defense of Syrian soldiers and prevented the terrorists' breakthrough into the inhabited area.

"During the fight, the officer sustained critical wounds. Major Sergei Bodrov was granted a state decoration posthumously," it added.

As usual the Russian Defense ministry presents just enough information to establish its officer died a heroic death, but nowhere enough to satisfy us.

Here is what we're wondering:

  • Which base and where?
  • Was the Russian major the only casualty? 
  • How were militants able to approach the training facility undetected? 
  • Where were the Syrian guards?
  • How come in an attack on a Syrian army installation it fell to a Russian officer to lead the defense?

Either there's something we don't understand, or there is something odd about the story.

If it fell to a Russian trainer to single-handedly save a Syrian base from a surprise enemy attack then Syrian army fighters are pretty darn incompetent.

So maybe that's what happened. Or maybe the Russian army is weaving a tale here. 

If American experience is anything to go by, when a foreign military instructor is killed inside a friendly army base it is rarely in an attempted storming of the base from the outside. It is much more common for trainers to be killed by infiltrators who sign up for training only to strike from the inside. (Or in mortar strikes from a distance.)

That doesn't diminish the sacrifice (if you're into that) of the trainer rendered, but it doesn't make for a quite as classically heroic story.

Is the Russian military massaging the circumstances in which their servicemen die? I hope not, they certainly deserve better.

The loss of major Sergei Bodrov brings Russia's fatalities in Syria so far to 31.

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