Russian journalist, Maxim Borodin, has died after falling five stories from his apartment balcony last week in Yekaterinburg. Borodin was essential in breaking the story about the Wagner mercenaries killed by United States military forces in Syria earlier this year when they attacked an oil refinery in Dier ez-Zor. The initial story included damning communications between Wagner men on the ground and members of the company’s headquarters element. According to sources and the transcriptions, hundreds of Wagner men were killed during the operation by U.S. military artillery and air support.

Presently, investigating Russian officials are advocating that Borodin’s death was a suicide but have released very little information about what transpired. Though he survived the fall, he later succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital according to reports. The new organization he wrote for, Novy Den, specialized in investigative journalism centered around crime and government corruption. His managing editor, Polina Rumyantseva, stated over the weekend that there was no way Borodin would have killed himself and that she found the explanation overly simplistic. Many within the Russian media circles have called for an impartial third-party investigation due to the suspicious circumstances of Borodin’s death.

Wagner Group employees around 2,500 mercenaries at any given moment and have been instrumental in the Crimean conflict as well as Syria. During the course of the last few months, leaders within the company have come forward to shed light on Wagner’s inner workings. Men are often contracted under oil and gas labor pretenses, then deployed accordingly to a conflict zone where they are paid thousands of dollars for a several month-long rotation. In the past videos and pictures have surfaced of these men operating in such places. One incredibly disturbing video surfaced of a group of Russian men smashing a captured ISIS fighters hand with a sledgehammer. In anonymous interviews, Wagner men have confessed to employing torture to obtain information for the Russian military; using techniques that involve a specialist using a spoon to remove detainees eyeballs. Wagner works directly with or under the Russian military according to the same insider sources.

Featured Image Courtesy of Borodin’s Facebook