Two Russian servicemen have been killed after they came under shelling in Syria and another is in a critical condition, the Kremlin’s defence ministry has said.
Those killed were serving as military instructors within a unit of the Syrian forces.
Doctors are fighting to save the life of the third solider who is in hospital.
The ministry said that the Russian military instructors were embedded with a Syrian army unit and – along with a Russian military adviser – had come under mortar fire from a group of militants.
The deaths come amid growing tensions between Russia and the US over Syria, which escalated sharply after US President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airbase after it was claimed the Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad, backed by Russia, launched a chemical attack on his own people.
Earlier today the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at a G7 meeting that he hoped Russia would end its support of the Syrian leader.
Mr Tillerson said: “It is clear to us the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.
At least 58 people, including nine children, were killed in an air raid that released “toxic gas” on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun