By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Zambia has demanded an explanation from Russia on the circumstances surrounding the death of one of its citizens who had been serving a prison sentence in Moscow, but ended up on the battlefield in Ukraine where he was killed.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo said on Monday in a statement that Russia had notified his country about the death in September of the 23-year-old, but did not provide details.
The Zambian student was serving a jail sentence at a medium security prison on the outskirts of Moscow after being convicted of contravening Russian law, Kakubo said, but did not specify the offence that occurred in April 2020.
“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,” Kakubo said.
It was not clear how the prisoner was recruited and by whom.
Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the circumstances of his journey to Ukraine and subsequent death.
The Zambian student, who was studying nuclear engineering at a university in Moscow, was convicted and jailed for nine years and six months, according to Kakubo.
Kakubo said further details would be provided once official communication was received from the Russian authorities on the circumstances surrounding the Zambian’s death.
His remains have been transported to the Russian border town of Rostov in readiness for repatriation to Zambia, Kakubo added.