A 23 year old Zambian student fighting alongside Russian soldiers against Ukraine has died, becoming the country’s first confirmed casualty in the war, Hon. Stanley K. Kakubo, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation has revealed.
In April 2020, Mr Nyirenda was convicted and sentenced for breaking Russian Federation law according to the Zambian government.
However, it has been established that while serving his prison term, Mr Nyirenda was allegedly recruited to fight in Ukraine.
Lemakhani Nathan Nyirenda died on September 22nd 2022 in Ukraine on the frontline of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. He was convicted in Russia and serving a prison sentence on the outskirts of Moscow.
Mr Kakubo said Mr Nyirenda’s remains have been transported to the Russian border town of Rostov in readiness for repatriation to Zambia.
He said the deceased was a government-sponsored student, who was pursuing nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in the Russian Federation.
Mr Kakubo said his Ministry is deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Mr Nyirenda under such circumstances and commiserates with the family on their loss.
Kakubo, who said he visited Nyirenda’s family, said will communicate more details once the Russian authorities provide more information on the circumstances of his death.
Through the embassy of the Republic of Zambia in Moscow, the Ministry immediately proceeded to verify this information where it was established that Mr Nyirenda indeed passed away on 22nd September, 2022, in Ukraine.
The student of nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), had been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison. He was serving his sentence in a medium-security prison on the outskirts of Moscow.
The Zambian government has requested the Russian authorities to urgently provide information on the circumstances under which a Zambian citizen, serving a prison sentence in Moscow, could have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and subsequently lose his life.
As Russia has struggled in its war against Ukraine, reports from Russia indicate authorities have been recruiting troops from prisons.
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