Nepalese police detain men for illegally recruiting youths to fight in Ukraine

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.06 - 2023 11:54 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

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Nepal has recently made a significant crackdown on a human smuggling operation related to the war in Ukraine. Police in Nepal have detained 10 men accused of sending young people to Russia for recruitment into the Russian army.

This development, as reported by Reuters and BBC, highlights a complex international issue involving the exploitation of vulnerable individuals for military purposes.

According to the Kathmandu District Police, the detainees were allegedly involved in a scheme where they collected up to $9,000 from each victim.

These individuals were then sent to Russia on tourist visas via the United Arab Emirates. Once in Russia, they were recruited into the Russian army. Bhpopendra Khatri, a local police chief, described the operation as "smuggling people" and "organized crime."

The Nepalese student

This case has drawn attention partly because of Nepal's historical ties to military service in foreign armies. Notably, Nepalese soldiers, known as Gurkhas, serve in the British and Indian armies under agreements between these countries. However, Nepal has no such agreements with Russia, making the recruitment of its citizens into the Russian military particularly controversial.

The issue gained prominence following the circulation of a video on social media, where a man, claiming to be a 22-year-old Nepalese student captured by Ukrainian forces, shared his experience.

He stated that financial constraints led him to join the Russian army after his visa expired and he ran out of money. Despite promises of significant payment, he alleged that he was paid only once and inadequately.

In response to these events, the Nepalese government has appealed to Russia not to recruit its citizens into the Russian army. This plea came after the reported death of six Nepalese individuals in the conflict. Nepal’s Foreign Ministry has requested the repatriation of the bodies of the deceased and compensation for their families, emphasizing the serious diplomatic and humanitarian implications of this situation.

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