Russian President Vladimir Putin

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has accused Russia of pressuring 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 the 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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It comes after the death of a Zambian student in the fight against Ukraine.

Lemekhani Nyirenda, a 23-year-old Zambian student at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, had been serving nine years in jail for a drug offence.

Nyirenda died in September fighting in Ukraine, but Russia has only now informed Zambia’s government.

The circumstances of his release from prison are unknown, but Russia has offered freedom to some prisoners in exchange for fighting in Ukraine.

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