Skip to main content

Alleged Russian spy beheaded by Islamic State in Syria

Russia has been targeting the Islamic State group in Syria since 2015
The alleged spy was earlier featured in a Russian-language video in September (screengrab)

The Islamic State group has beheaded a Russian colonel in Syria, according to media channels affiliated to the militant group.

Russia's defence ministry denied that a Russian serviceman had been captured and executed by IS, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia has been directly involved in the war in Syria since 2015, and has been targeting both IS and moderate rebel groups.

The new video, released on Monday and apparently filmed in recent days, was in Russian and also contained a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, entitled "Complete bankruptcy".

The 12-minute Russian-language video, released on the day Russia celebrates the anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany with military parades, showed the man dressed in a black jumpsuit 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, before a bearded man beheaded him with a knife.

The Russian serviceman killed in the video is thought to be Evgeny Petrenko, earlier kidnapped by IS and featured in a video message in September.

Speaking in Russian, the man said he was a spy in Moscow, but did not indicate how or where he was captured by the group.

This is not the first time IS has claimed to have captured and killed Russian spies in Syria.

MEE was unable to independently verify the content of the video or IS’s claims.

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

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.