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Journalist dies in 'balcony fall' weeks after story on Russian mercenaries 'killed in US airstrikes in Syria'

Mirror logo Mirror 15/4/2018 Steve Robson

A journalist has been found dead weeks after exposing that Russian mercenaries have died fighting for Assad in Syria.

Maksim Borodin, 32, was found unconscious outside his apartment in the city of Yekaterinburg, in the east of Russia's Ural Mountains on April 12.

He died in hospital as a result of his injuries on Sunday.

According to RadioFreeEurope, his death is being treated as a suspected suicide by local police.

A spokesman said Maksim's fifth-floor flat was locked from the inside and there was no sign of forced entry.

However, Polina Rumyantseva the editor of the journalist's newspaper Novy Den (New Day), said she does not believe Maksim took his own life.

In a lengthy Facebook , his friend Vyacheslav Bashkov also claimed that Maksim called him at 5am the night before his fall.

a man wearing glasses: Credits: Facebook © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Facebook


Maksim had "a worried voice" and told him that he was "surrounded by security officials" with "armed men on the balcony" and "people on the stairs in camouflage and masks".

Mr Bashkov wrote: "Maxim expressed the opinion that in the shortest possible time they would break into his search, and now, apparently, they are waiting for the court's permission.

"Therefore, he needed a lawyer, which is why he called me.

"Max's voice was alarmed, but not hysterical, not drunk, I immediately took everything seriously, promised to call anyone I can, and let me know as soon as someone responds."

An hour later, Maksim called him back and said he was "mistaken", apologised and said that there had been some sort of "exercise".

"I didn't call him after that," Mr Bashkov wrote, "although I was waiting for him to write something on Facebook.

"But he didn't write anything and on the 13th the media reported that Maksim had been found under his balcony and he was in the emergency room."

Vladimir Putin wearing a suit and tie: Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS


Maksim Borodin had written extensively about crime and corruption in Russia.

Most recently, he'd identified Russian mercenaries known as the Wagner Group after a number of them died fighting in Syria for the Assad regime.

Some reports suggest as many as 200 have died when Russians in tanks and artillery attacked rebels supported by the US and UK.

The US coalition responded with airstrikes.

The Russian government has not officially acknowledged the deaths.

The Wagner Group has about 2,500 mercenaries in Syria, according to the BBC.

Maksim's friend called for an investigation to uncover the truth surrounding his death.

"All public figures of Yekaterinburg knew Maxim as a principled and honest journalist, able to go to the end," Mr Bshkov wrote.

"There are very few such journalists in Yekaterinburg.

"The investigation is obliged to check all the circumstances and all versions of the tragedy that happened.

"If someone knows what happened to Maxim after the morning of April 11, then this should be reported to the law enforcement agencies."

The group Reporters without Borders echoed the calls in a tweet saying: "We call for a thorough, impartial investigation into professional motive."

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