Russia’s highest-ranking military officer has been killed while battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants near the eastern Syria over the weekend.
Russia's Defense Ministry said Sunday that Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov "was at a command post of Syrian troops, assisting the Syrian commanders in the operation for the liberation of the city of Deir al-Zor".
The ministry said "as a result of a mortar shelling by the ISIS (Islamic State group), Asapov was mortally wounded".
General Asapov was serving as one of Russia’s military advisers in Syria.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov asserted that the United States was to blame for the death of a Russian general. “The death of the Russian commander is the price paid with blood for the hypocrisy of American policy in Syria," Ryabkov said on Monday.
However, the US Central Command has denied the accusations in a written statement to RT.
“The allegations are false. For operational security, we do not comment on ongoing operations or the current positions of Coalition personnel and our partner forces,” the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said.