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India confirms citizens have joined Russian military

February 23, 2024

New Delhi has confirmed that some of India's citizens have signed up for "support jobs" with the Russian army. The Indian government says it is working with Moscow to secure their discharge.

Russian soldiers are seen at sunset before finishing the Russian troops' withdrawal at a checkpoint near the city of Gori
Russia has been recruiting foreign nationals, in addition to mobilizing its own citizens, to assist in the war effort against UkraineImage: Zurab Kurtsikidze/epa/dpa/picture alliance

The Indian Foreign Ministry said Friday that some of the country's citizens have signed up for jobs helping Russia in its war against Ukraine.

The ministry has not confirmed if any of those who signed up had taken combat roles.

What is New Delhi saying?

In a statement, the ministry said it was "aware that a few Indian nationals have signed up for support jobs with the Russian army."

"The Indian Embassy has regularly taken up this matter with the relevant Russian authorities for their early discharge," the statement. 

"We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict."

What do we know about the Indians working for Russia?

India's Hindu newspaper reported Wednesday that some 18 Indians were stranded in various frontline towns. At least three were "forced" to fight alongside the Russians, the newspaper reported.

The report alleged that Indians had been duped by recruiters based in Dubai who promised high wages and Russian passports.

When they arrived in Moscow, the newspaper said, the Indians were reportedly trained to handle "arms and ammunition by the Russian Army" and sent to the frontlines last month. 

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The newspaper report said about 100 Indians have been recruited in the past year under contracts lasting at least a year.

Last month, Nepal stopped issuing permits for its citizens to work in Russia and Ukraine until further notice. At least 10 Nepali soldiers had been killed while serving in the Russian army.

rc/wd (Reuters, AFP)