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Latest news on Russia’s war in Ukraine

Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Maimer, left, who was recognized because the American citizen killed by Russian artillery in the embattled metropolis of Bakhmut, is pictured with Senator James Risch. Senator James Risch

The head of the Russian paramilitary firm Yevgeny Prigozhin instructed CNN Thursday that he has handed the physique of a retired US Army Special Forces soldier who was killed in the battle for the Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut over to Ukraine. 

In a response to CNN asking if Wagner had returned the physique of Retired Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Maimer as promised by Prigozhin final week, Prigozhin stated in an audio recording: “Today at 1500 hours we handed over the body of the American Nicholas Maimer to the Ukrainian side.” 

In a video shared with CNN by Prigozhin’s press service, the Wagner boss stands subsequent to 2 coffins, one draped with an American flag and one with a Turkish flag, and says: “The American died in battle in the ‘nest’” — one of many final contested areas in west Bakhmut — and added that the second coffin contained the physique of a Turkish citizen who was in Bakhmut together with his feminine companion. 

“They were found under the ruins of a building, or more accurately he and his documents. When the Ukrainians withdrew they blew up the building, and they died under the destroyed building. We weren’t able to get her out, but we got him out and will return to his motherland,” Prigozhin says of the Turkish residents.

CNN can not independently confirm the situation in the video or the date it was filmed. 

Ukraine’s Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War confirmed to CNN that Maimer’s physique, together with the physique of a Turkish citizen, had been returned to Ukraine on Thursday throughout a POW trade. A video shared by the group confirmed a coffin lined with an American flag which matched the coffin seen in the video with Prigozhin. 

CNN is unable to independently verify that the coffin comprises Maimer’s physique, or the circumstances in which he died.

Maimer’s many years in uniform: According to Maimer’s service file supplied to CNN, he served greater than 20 years in uniform earlier than retiring in 2018, in response to his service file supplied to CNN.

He served greater than two years in the active-duty Army, leaving in December 1998; he then joined the National Guard in November 2000, and served about 18 years between three completely different Guard items earlier than retiring in December 2018.

Among his awards and decorations are the Special Forces Tab, Army Commendation Medal and 4 Army Achievement Medals.

His uncle Paul Maimer instructed the Idaho Statesman his nephew had gone to Ukraine “as a humanitarian trying to do good for this world” and that the household needed to convey him house for a “proper burial.”

“I think he’s deserving to be put to rest in a veterans cemetery,” he instructed the Statesman. “He might not have been fighting for our country, but he was fighting for the right reasons.”

CNN’s Josh Pennington, Sandi Sidhu, Jennifer Hansler, Haley Britzky and Alex Marquardt contributed to this put up.

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