India presses Russia for early release of nationals duped to fight in Russian Army

India has strongly taken up the issue of Indians being duped into fighting for the Russian Army with Russia and initiated action against the human-trafficking network behind this nefarious operation.

“We have strongly taken up the matter with the Russian government for early discharge of such Indian nationals,” said Mr Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, on March 8.

“Strong action has been initiated against agents and unscrupulous elements who recruited them on false pretexts and promises,” he said.

Providing the update on the fraught situation, he informed that the CBI busted a major human trafficking network conducting searches in several cities and collecting incriminating evidence on March 7. A case of human trafficking has been registered against several agents.

Two Indian nationals have lost their lives while being deployed as “helpers” with the Russian Army. These deaths brought to light the issue of Indian youth being duped into combat roles by false offers of lucrative jobs or admission to universities in Russia. They are then pushed into the front bases of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, where they are forced to put their lives in grave danger.

The ministry is still trying to ascertain the exact number of Indians in need of help and their locations in Russia. “Around 20 people have contacted us and we are doing our best to locate them. We are in touch with the Russian authorities,” the spokesperson said, while highlighting the urgency with which the external affairs ministry is trying to rescue these nationals.

Amidst the backdrop of increasing number of such cases coming to light, the ministry has urged Indian citizens to not be swayed by these false offers and put their lives at risk. “We once again appeal to Indian nationals to not be swayed by offers made by agents for support jobs with the Russian Army. This is fraught with danger and risk to life. We remain committed to the early release of our nationals serving as support staff with the Russian Army and their eventual return home,” Mr Jaiswal said.

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