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Lavrov dismisses reports that hundreds of Russians died in Syria as ‘speculation’

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has described reports that hundreds of Russians have been killed in Syria as speculation. “The stuff we read about hundreds and even thousands of killed Russian mercenaries are attempts to indulge in speculation on the war that, regrettably, is continuing in Syria,” Lavrov said on Monday. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference of the international-discussion club, Valdai, which is entitled ‘Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.’ He added: “These attempts are not very appropriate, to say the least.” According to the foreign minister, “tensions are being fanned over fake news without specific facts being presented.” He said that an investigation is under way. President Bashar Assad’s adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, was quoted by RIA Novosti on Monday as saying that information on the killing of Russian citizens in Syria is propaganda by Western media.