Zambian student killed in Ukraine was Wagner recruit, says Prigozhin

The leader of the Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenary group confirmed Tuesday that a Zambian student killed while fighting for the Russian army in Ukraine was recruited from prison by Wagner.

Nathan Lemekhandi Nyirenda, 23, was studying nuclear engineering at Moscow’s Engineering Physics Institute before he was convicted of drug possession in 2020.

He was killed on Ukraine’s front lines on September 22, the same month that videos of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared personally. recruitment Russian prisoners, promising them their freedom in exchange for a six-month sentence in Ukraine.

In a statement released by his company Concord, Prigozhin claimed that Nyirenda, who was serving a nine-and-a-half-year prison sentence, had agreed to become a mercenary as a sign of gratitude for “Russia helping Africans achieve independence”. .

“PMC Wagner saves thousands of Africans, and if I go to war with you, that’s probably the least I can pay for our debt. And if I stay alive, I will learn to fight for my country,” Prigozhin said, quoting Nyirenda.

Nyirenda had studied nuclear engineering at the Engineering Physics Institute in Moscow before being convicted of drug possession in 2020.

Zambian authorities said Russia did not inform them of Nyirenda’s death until mid-November.

The Zambian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nyirenda’s relatives required that Russia is “urgently providing information on the circumstances” surrounding his death and why he was sent to the front in Ukraine.

Russia news

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