Russia’s Wagner mercenaries target in hotel attack, governor says | Russia-Ukraine war News

Members of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group have reportedly been killed following an assault by Ukraine’s armed forces on a lodge the place many had been based mostly in a city within the Russian-occupied Luhansk region, in keeping with the area’s Ukrainian governor.

Luhansk’s exiled Governor Serhiy Haidai mentioned in an interview with Ukrainian tv on Sunday that Ukraine had launched a strike on a lodge within the metropolis of Kadiivka, west of the area’s important centre of Luhansk. Pictures posted on Telegram channels confirmed a constructing largely lowered to rubble.

“They’d a bit of pop there, simply the place Wagner headquarters was positioned,” Haidai mentioned.

“An enormous variety of those that had been there died,” he mentioned.

Russia’s defence ministry was not instantly accessible for remark and Reuters information company couldn’t independently confirm the knowledge.

A bit of Ukrainian media quoted native officers as saying the lodge had been closed for a while, whereas Russian state information company TASS mentioned on its Telegram channel {that a} lodge in Stakhanov – the Russian identify for Kadiivka – was destroyed by a Ukrainian HIMARS missile assault and rescue staff had been clearing rubble, in keeping with a neighborhood official.

Haidai didn’t give casualty figures, however he mentioned those that survived the assault confronted insufficient medical companies to deal with them.

“I’m certain that a minimum of 50 p.c of those that managed to outlive will die earlier than they get medical care,” he mentioned. “It’s because even in our Luhansk area, they’ve stolen tools.”

Haidai has beforehand reported strikes by Ukrainian forces on different targets in Luhansk area, together with on the Wagner headquarters within the city of Popasna in August.

The Wagner Group – a brutal combating pressure of mercenaries with the objective of furthering Russia’s navy pursuits around the globe – operates in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, and Mali and has been accused of quite a few rights violations, together with torture and killings.

Managed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an in depth ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wagner opened its first official headquarters within the Russian metropolis of Saint Petersburg in early November.

People visit PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022.
Guests to the Wagner Centre on its opening day in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on November 4, 2022 [File: Igor Russak/Reuters]

The European Union has accused Wagner, whose members are largely former service personnel, of human rights abuses and the United States and EU have sanctioned Prigozhin over his position within the group. In 2021, the EU mentioned the Wagner Group was accountable for abuses, together with torture and extrajudicial killings.

On Sunday, the physique of 23-year-old Zambian pupil Lemekani Nyirenda, who died while fighting for Wagner in Ukraine, arrived at Kenneth Kaunda Worldwide Airport within the capital, Lusaka.

Nyirenda was learning nuclear engineering in Russia when he was convicted of drug offences in April 2020 and sentenced to 9 years in jail. He was later pardoned by means of a particular amnesty on the situation that he take part within the battle in Ukraine and was killed whereas combating.

In November, Wagner chief Prigozhin admitted he recruited Nyirenda from jail, claiming the Zambian willingly went to combat towards Ukraine.

Florence Nyirenda, mother of Lemekhani Nyireda, is comforted by family members at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia, Sunday, Dec. 11 2022. The body of a 23-year-old Zambian student who died while fighting for the Russian army in the war in Ukraine has been returned home. The body of Lemekani Nyirenda who was studying nuclear engineering in Russia before joining the military arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on Sunday. (AP Photo/Salim Dawood)
Florence Nyirenda, mom of Lemekhani Nyireda, is comforted by members of the family on the Kenneth Kaunda Worldwide Airport in Lusaka, Zambia, on December 11, 2022 [Salim Dawood/AP Photo]

Zambian International Minister Stanley Kakubo mentioned on Friday that Russia’s International Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov advised him by phone that Nyirenda was pardoned on August 23, 2022, to permit him to hitch the navy.

“We had been knowledgeable that Russia permits for prisoners to be offered a possibility for pardon in alternate for participation within the particular navy operation,” Kakubo mentioned, utilizing Russia’s description of the invasion of Ukraine.

In response to Nyirenda’s father, his son had been serving a nine-year jail sentence on the outskirts of Moscow for a drug offence when he was “conscripted” to combat.

Russia has additionally knowledgeable Zambia that cash owed to Nyirenda by Wagner, along with all of the documentation referring to his amnesty, recruitment and demise, can be handed to a Zambian consultant who would accompany the physique, the minister mentioned.

Zambia will work to make sure that nothing like this occurs once more to a Zambian learning in Russia and that there aren’t any different Zambians in Russian prisons, mentioned Kakubo.

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