Russia has promised to release Indian nationals who were tricked into joining its army to fight in Ukraine, according to India’s foreign secretary on Tuesday.

During his trip to Moscow, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed the importance of bringing all Indians home “as early as possible” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra.

“The Russian side promised the early discharge of all Indian nationals from the service of the Russian army,” he stated.

Moscow has not commented on the agreement yet, but New Delhi has been pushing for the release of its nationals from the Russian army for months.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs has been in constant contact with Russian authorities to secure their release, calling it a “top priority” in April.

Russia has been sending thousands of foreign men, including many from South Asia, to fight in Ukraine since the full-scale invasion began in February 2022. These men are often lured by promises of steady jobs and higher salaries.

In Nepal, a prominent opposition lawmaker revealed that between 14,000 and 15,000 Nepalis were fighting on the front lines in Ukraine, based on testimonies from returnees.

In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) discovered major human trafficking networks that were deceiving men into Russian military jobs. They found 35 cases where Indian nationals were trained for combat roles and sent to the war zone against their wishes.

Foreign Secretary Kwatra estimates that between 35 and 50 Indians were recruited to fight for Russia in Ukraine, with 10 already returned to India. He expressed hope that both sides will work quickly to bring the rest back home.

India has no law preventing its citizens from serving in a foreign state’s military.

One family from Hyderabad spent two months trying to find out what happened to their brother, Asfan Mohammed, who was lured to Russia with job promises.

Asfan was sent to Ukraine and killed in combat. His brother, Imran Mohammad, said brokers tricked and endangered the lives of Indian men like Asfan.

In Nepal, lawmakers are urging Russia to provide figures for Nepalis fighting in Ukraine. Some returned Nepali fighters reported feeling used as cannon fodder and received only brief training before being sent into combat.

Ramchandra Khadka, a returned Nepali fighter, shared that after just two weeks of training, he was sent to the front lines with minimal equipment.

He joined the Russian military out of necessity due to a lack of job opportunities in Nepal, but he now regrets the decision.

This news highlights the complexities and human costs of the war in Ukraine, affecting not just the immediate combatants but also foreign nationals misled into the conflict.

The Indian government’s efforts to secure the release of its nationals show a commitment to protecting its citizens abroad.

(Source: CNN)

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