Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of PMC Wagner, confirmed that a fighter of the private military company of Zambian origin was killed during the special operation in Ukraine.
Reports about the death of 23-year-old Nyirend Lemekani appeared in mid-November. The Zambian Foreign Ministry then asked the Russian authorities to explain under which circumstances the Zambian citizen, who was serving a prison term in Moscow for drug offence, could be recruited into PMC Wagner.
Nyirenda was a student at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute. In 2020 he was sentenced in Russia to 9,5 years in prison. His body, according to Zambian officials, has been transported to Russia's southern border town of Rostov in preparation for his repatriation to Lusaka where his family will bury him.
On November 29, Prigozhin's press service provided a response:
"Yes, I remember that guy well. I talked to him in the Tver region and asked him a question: "Why do you need this war? You can be released in a couple of years. You can go home soon to see your relatives. What are you going there for? After all, chances of getting killed are quite high. Remember this". And he answered what I expected. He said: "You Russians have helped us Africans gain independence for many years. When we would have hard times, you would offer your help and you still continue doing so. PMC Wagner saves thousands of Africans, and if I go to war with you, this is probably the least I can do to pay our debt. And if I stay alive, I will learn to fight for my homeland. And one more thing, I know about Wagner only by hearsay, but I can become one of you, and it's great honour for me. On September 22, Nyirenda Lemekani Nathan was one of the first to break into enemy trenches. He died as a hero."
By summer, the Russian army may break through Ukrainian defences, reach Odessa and liberate Transnistria. The West will only “condemn” Russia's actions and continue supporting Chisinau in words