MEA urges Indian nationals in Russia to exercise caution, keep away from conflict | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

MEA urges Indian nationals in Russia to exercise caution, keep away from conflict

Feb 23, 2024 02:21 PM IST

India advises citizens to stay away from Russia-Ukraine conflict after reports of Indian nationals forced to fight with Russian troops.

New Delhi: India on Friday advised its citizens to stay away from getting caught up in the Russia-Ukraine conflict following reports that Indian nationals who secured support jobs with the Russian Army had been forced to fight alongside Russian troops.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (File Photo)
External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (File Photo)

The external affairs ministry acknowledged that “a few” Indians had signed up for support jobs with the Russian Army and that the Indian embassy in Moscow has “regularly taken up this matter with the relevant Russian authorities for their early discharge”.

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“We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in a statement that made no direct reference to Ukraine. The ministry said the statement was issued in response to media queries regarding “Indians caught in conflict in Russia”.

According to media reports, several Indians who had signed up as “security helpers” with the Russian military, were forced to fight beside Russian troops along the border with Ukraine. Indian nationals have also been stranded at several places along the Russia-Ukraine border, such as Mariupol, Kharkiv and Rostov-on-Dov.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested there were some casualties among the Indian nationals.

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader and MP Asaduddin Owaisi and the Karnataka government have approached the external affairs ministry to bring back the Indians caught in the fighting. Several of these Indians belong to Karnataka, Telangana, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge and relatives of some of the Indians have said they were sent to Russia by recruitment agents. Kharge said they had been recruited by Wagner Group, the Russian state-funded private military company, to fight against Ukraine.

Earlier, there were reports of up to 200 men from Nepal being recruited by the Russian military. Nepal’s foreign ministry acknowledged in December that six Nepalese nationals serving in the Russian Army were killed in the war with Ukraine.

The Nepal government has urged Russia not to recruit Nepalese citizens into its military and to return those who were already serving in the army.

The war triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is set to enter its third year on Saturday. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has verified 30,457 civilian casualties, including 10,582 killed and 19,875 injured since the war began.

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