• Saturday, April 13, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Several Indian helpers in Russian army discharged: India

Many Indians were tricked by agents to work as security helpers in the Russian military but were forced to fight on the Ukraine border

A local resident prepares a damaged car to be towed, near a residential building damaged during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Dnipro, Ukraine February 26, 2024. REUTERS/Mykola Synelnykov

By: Shajil Kumar

Several Indians who worked as support staff to the Russian army were discharged following India’s demand, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday.

It said India remains committed, as a matter of “top priority”, to actively pursuing with the Russian authorities all the relevant cases of Indian nationals for an early discharge from the Russian army.

According to media reports, several Indians have been working as security helpers in the Russian military and they were forced to even fight with Russian soldiers in certain areas along Russia’s border with Ukraine.

“We have seen some inaccurate reports in the media regarding Indians with the Russian army seeking help for discharge,” the MEA said in a statement.

“Every such case brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Moscow has been strongly taken up with the Russian authorities and those brought to the attention of the Ministry have been taken up with the Russian embassy in New Delhi,” it said.

The MEA added, “Several Indians have already been discharged as a result.”

Last week, MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said New Delhi was in touch with Moscow for early discharge of Indians working as support staff to the Russian army and urged its nationals to stay away from the conflict zone in Ukraine.

“We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict,” he had said.

A 23-year-old man from the Gujarat state died in a Ukrainian air strike on February 21 in the Donetsk region on the Russia-Ukraine border, The Hindu reported.

The Indian man had gone to Russia in December 2023 and was subsequently attached to the Russian Army as a helper. Around 100 men from India have been recruited in a year, the daily added quoting Russian sources.

At least a dozen Indians have been duped by agents into fighting for Russian forces, reports BBC.

The families alleged that the duped men were hired as helpers in the military establishment in Russia but later sent to the battlefield as part of “training”.

These men hail from economically weaker sections of Indian society and are lured by the promise of higher salaries.

They hail from the states of Telangana, Gujarat, Kashmir, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.

There were reports of some Indians volunteering to join the Ukrainian army, but this is the first time their presence on the Russian side is being reported.

Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and even after two years, peace has remained elusive.

Thousands of civilian and military casualties have been reported on both sides. (Agencies)

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