6 Mar 2024

Forced Recruitment in Russian Army Includes Seven More Indians, What They Told in Video

The involvement of Nepalese nationals in the Russian Army during the Ukraine conflict had been reported in the past. Now, emerging details reveal the presence of Indians coerced into military service.

Media reports suggest that several Indians were lured to Russia under the pretext of job opportunities, only to be later recruited into the Russian Army. In response to these revelations, the Indian Foreign Ministry has engaged in discussions with the Russian government, actively working to repatriate these people.

7 stranded Indians released two videos

This week, a group of seven stranded Indians near the Russia-Ukraine border released two videos, urgently seeking assistance from the Indian government to facilitate their return home. They include Gagandeep Singh (24), Lovepreet Singh (24), Narayan Singh (22), Gurpreet Singh (21), Gurpreet Singh (23), Harsh Kumar (20), and Abhishek Kumar (21). Among them, five are reported to be laborers from Punjab, while the remaining two hail from Haryana.

Arived in Russia on tourist visas

According to the victims, they initially arrived in Russia on tourist visas but were later apprehended by the police for lacking proper documentation. Subsequently, they were forcibly conscripted into the Russian Army under the label of "auxiliary."

In a video released on March 3, one of the victims expressed, "We were told to work only as ‘helpers,' but they recruited us for arms and ammunition training and are preparing to send us to Ukraine. They kept us hungry and took away our phones." The person further mentioned that their plea for help to Russian authorities went unanswered.

We can leave from here only after a year

On March 4, the same group released another video, with one person stating, "The Russian army tells us that we can leave from here only after a year. They are asking us to help them win the war; we don't know how to help them. If we don't do this, we will not survive."

100 Indians serving in Russian army

In addition to the seven people, it has been reported that at least three Indians appointed as security helpers in Russia are being compelled to participate in the war on the Russia-Ukraine border. Recent news suggests that there are approximately 100 Indians who have been serving in the Russian army for a year.

Confirming these reports, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs acknowledged that around 20 Indians sought help from the Indian Embassy in Moscow to return to India. Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal stated that India is actively coordinating with Russia to repatriate its citizens amidst the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022.

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