OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
4:01 PM – Tuesday, May 16, 2023
The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had exhibited what he claimed to be the body and identifying documents of a deceased former United States Army Green Beret who had been slain in Bakhmut while fighting for Ukraine, in a video posted on the Wagner Telegram group on Tuesday.
Yevgeny Prigozhin led pro-Russia war blogger Alexander Simonov to a shelter on the western side of Bakhmut in a graphic nighttime video that was shared on the Wagner Group’s Telegram channel on Tuesday. He proceeded to show Simonov the body of a man lying motionless on his back with a visible injury to the right side of his partially-exposed torso.
The name “Nicholas” is read out by Prigozhin as he displayed what looked to be the deceased soldier’s photo-adorned ID card from the United States.
The Wagner Group identified the deceased American as Nicholas Dwain Maimer, a resident of Boise, Idaho, and posted pictures of his driver’s license, a U.S. Army identity card with his staff sergeant level, and a VA card in a second Telegram post.
The identity was confirmed by an article published on Tuesday by The Idaho Statesman, who added that the 45-year-old Army Special Forces veteran had just returned after a year of training volunteers in Ukraine.
“So we will hand him over to the United States of America, we’ll put him in a coffin, cover him with the American flag with respect because he did not die in his bed as a grandpa but he died at war and most likely a worthy [death], right?” Prigozhin said.
A soldier claimed that the man was returning fire when he had died. Prigozhin replied, “He was shooting back, he died in the battle, so we will hand over his documents tomorrow morning and pack everything, right?”
Prigozhin’s comments have not yet been independently verified by the U.S. State Department, but a spokesperson said that they “are aware of the reports” and “are seeking additional information.”
“Our ability to verify reports of deaths of US citizens in Ukraine is extremely limited,” a spokesperson said. “We offer our condolences to the families of all whose lives have been lost as a result of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine.”
The spokesperson continued, expressing “condolences to the families of all whose lives have been lost as a result of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine” and she reiterated the travel advisory of Americans going to Ukraine.
“We reiterate our message that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of US citizens in Ukraine by Russia’s security officials, and that US citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options,” the spokesperson said.
Maimer was referred to in a post that was published along with the photos by the group as “yet another victim of the ‘Bakhmut meat grinder,’ into which Ukrainian commanders have been forced to throw not only cannon fodder from territorial defense and conscripts, but also such precious resources as special forces units and foreign mercenaries.”
It is reported that at least 12 Americans have died fighting in Ukraine since the war broke out last year, despite U.S. officials warning citizens that they should not travel to the country.
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