Cartoon of Russian President Vladimir Putin playing with African toy soldiers
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Cartoon | Ukraine accuses Russia of forcing Africans to fight

A Zambian student Nathan Lemekhani Nyirenda (23) serving a prison term died fighting for Russia at Ukrainian battlefront.

Nathan Lemekhani Nyirenda (23), a Zambian student, who was serving a prison sentence in Russia, died in the war in Ukraine. Nyirenda was studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia reported about the matter demanding answers from Russia. The Zambian Embassy established that Nyirenda’s remains had been transported to the Russian border town of Rostov in readiness for repatriation to Zambia.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry accused Russia of forcing imprisoned Africans to join the war against Ukraine.

In a tweet, ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said: “Putin is sending African citizens imprisoned in Russia to the war in Ukraine. A former Zambian student was killed.

“We call on African Union and all African states to demand that Russia stop press ganging their nationals. Africans shouldn’t die for Putin’s sick imperial ambitions.”

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