Russia agrees to discharge all Indians recruited by its army

Published Date: 10-Jul-2024 | 12:42 PM

Russia has agreed to discharge all Indian nationals working in its army following discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin during Modi's visit to Moscow, news agency ANI reported citing unnamed sources.

At least two Indian citizens have lost their lives while fighting in Russia's conflict against Ukraine, and many others stuck in the war zone allege they were deceived into joining the combat.

The sources indicated that during a private dinner hosted by Vladimir Putin on Monday night, PM Narendra Modi brought up the issue. In response, Russia consented to discharge all Indians serving in their military and to assist with their return.

Reuters reported that a top Indian official told the news agency last week that fixing India's trade imbalance with Russia and securing the discharge of Indian citizens who were "misled" into fighting in the Ukraine war would be among Modi's top priorities in Moscow.

Speaking about the Indians recruited for the Russia-Ukraine conflict, sources said India would raise the issue in the strongest terms, news agency PTI earlier reported.

"We want the expeditious discharge of Indians fighting in the Ukrainian conflict from the Russian military," PTI quoted an unnamed source as saying.

While reports have suggested that up to 200 Indian nationals had been recruited by the Russian military to serve as support staff, such as cooks and helpers, the people cited above said the number could be about 100. However, it has been difficult for Indian authorities to establish contact with Indian nationals who are believed to be serving on the frontlines because of the frequent movement of military units and the lack of proper communications, the people said.

The external affairs ministry had earlier urged Indian citizens to "exercise caution while seeking employment opportunities in Russia".

Many Indian nationals were duped by recruiting agents based in Indian cities and Dubai into taking up jobs with the Russian military. Besides the four deaths, several Indians have been injured. Indians have also posted videos on social media seeking help to get out of such jobs.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently busted a human trafficking network spread across several states that lured gullible young men through social media channels and agents with the promise of highly paid jobs in Russia.

A viral video earlier this year showed a group of men from Punjab and Haryana - wearing army uniforms - claiming they were tricked into fighting the war in Ukraine and doubling down on their request for help.

Modi, Putin hold talks amid outrage over Ukraine strikes

PM Narendra Modi is set to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, a day after the Indian leader arrived in Moscow amid global outcry over Russian strikes in Ukraine.

Modi, visiting Moscow for the first time since Russia launched its campaign in Ukraine in February 2022, will seek to nurture New Delhi's long-standing relationship with Moscow.

At the same time, he is courting closer Western security ties after being returned to power last month.

"There are no surprises in preparation. The main thing is to create an atmosphere for meaningful interaction," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state TV when asked about the talks.


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