India Requests Russia to Allow Indian Nationals in Ukraine to Break Contracts with Russian Ministry of Defense

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.24 - 2024 2:20 PM CET

India Requests Russia to Allow Indian Nationals in Ukraine to Break Contracts with Russian Ministry of Defense

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The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reached out to Russian authorities regarding Indian nationals caught in the war in Ukraine. The Ministry wishes for the Russian Ministry of Defense to allow Indians to leave the army without waiting for their contract terms to expire, reports The Hindu.

According to the Ministry, a number of citizens were recruited as “auxiliary personnel.” “The Indian Embassy regularly contacts the relevant Russian authorities requesting their early release. We urge all Indian citizens to exercise caution and stay away from this conflict,” stated Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal.

This statement followed reports on February 20th by local media that at least three Indians, hired by Russia as “security assistants,” were forced into combat against Ukraine.

Sources indicate that 18 Indians are stuck in various frontline cities, including Mariupol and Donetsk, with at least one confirmed dead. The Indians were deceived by recruiters from Dubai, who promised high salaries and Russian passports for “auxiliary work.” Upon arrival in Moscow, they were trained in weapons and ammunition handling and sent to the frontline.

The total number of Indian contractors serving in the Russian army is unknown. Sources from The Hindu suggest there are at least 100.

This issue was first raised by AIMIM party Member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi, who on January 25th appealed to Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to repatriate Indian nationals from Ukraine. “Their lives are at risk, and their families are understandably worried,” he noted.

Last year, it was revealed that the Russian army had recruited over 200 citizens from Nepal—a country bordering India and China. Subsequently, at least 14 of them died in Ukraine, claimed Nepalese Foreign Minister Prakash Saud. Authorities demanded Russia immediately demobilize the remaining Nepalese soldiers and return them, along with the deceased and wounded, to their homeland.

CNN sources report that Russia has recruited up to 15,000 Nepalese citizens in total. Politician and activist Kritu Bhandari told the publication that since the end of January, about 2,000 families have approached her for help in contacting their missing loved ones.

“It is actually the Nepalese and other foreign fighters who are fighting on the frontline in the combat zone. Russians are stationed several hundred meters away as support,” mercenary Suman Tamang, who managed to return from Russia to Nepal, told CNN.

News of this led to the arrest of recruiters and the suspension of work permits for Nepalese in Russia. There have also been reports of mercenaries from Somalia, Syria, Cuba, and China participating in the war on Russia's side. Additionally, Moscow recruited Serbs as volunteers.