Russian soldier killed in Syria
Vaidim KostenkoFacebook

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Vaidim Kostenko, a 19-year-old who was with the 906th Close Air Support Regiment, has been identified as the first Russian soldier to have died in Syria, a Russian blogger has claimed.

Russia has said that the death of its soldier was a suicide, the parents of the deceased but have disputed the claim.

The Russian defence ministry in a statement said that the soldier hung himself to death, following a rift with his girlfriend, Russian News Agency - TASS reported.

Vaidim reportedly was serving at the Hmeimim air base in Syria as a technical specialist. He was off duty when took his own life, the ministry said.

According to The Financial Times, which cited Conflict Intelligence Team -- a group linked to Russian blogger Ruslan Leviev who follows Russian military involvement in Syria and Ukraine, Vadim Kostenko died on Saturday and he will be buried in Grechanaya Balka "soon".

The Independent, citing a relative who spoke on local TV, stated that Kostenko was sent to Syria on 14 September and his family were told of his death on 25 October.

Blogger Ruslan Leviev wrote in his blog that Kostenko was killed along with nine other Russian soldiers during a raid. 

Vadim's parents in an interview with Reuters but have refused to accept the state version. "I will never believe this version (suicide). We spoke every day by phone for half an hour. (On Saturday) he was cheerful, happy, and he laughed," Vadim's mother said.

His father Alexander said that his son would never kill himself over a girl. "I know my son really well."

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