Moscow Repeatedly Ignored Pleas to Repatriate Indian Citizens from Ukraine War

Moscow Repeatedly Ignored Pleas to Repatriate Indian Citizens from Ukraine War

India is intensifying efforts to retrieve the bodies of two Punjabi men killed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict after being recruited as "security helpers" by the Russian military.

Government sources reveal that Russia has not responded favorably to India's repeated requests since the beginning of the year to urgently repatriate these recruits, despite the escalating risks they face. This lack of cooperation has raised serious concerns in New Delhi, prompting a firm response from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The MEA issued a strongly worded statement demanding a "verified stop" to further recruitment of Indians by the Russian army, emphasizing that such actions are not in line with the bilateral partnership between the two nations. The statement also announced the deaths of the two Indian nationals and reaffirmed India's strong stance with Moscow, seeking the immediate release and return of all Indians serving in the Russian army.

While robust ties and continued cooperation exist between India and Russia, the presence of Indian citizens on the front lines and Moscow's alleged inaction have strained the relationship. A government source stressed, "It is our citizens who are stuck. However they may have reached Russia, it is incumbent upon the Russians to ensure they are sent back and not put at risk."

This incident follows the deaths of two other Indians who were recruited by the Russian military: Mohammed Asfan from Hyderabad in March and Hemal Ashwinbhai Mangua from Surat in February, further highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Reports indicate that approximately 30 Indian nationals have sought assistance from the Indian embassy in Moscow for repatriation after finding themselves unexpectedly on the front lines. Of these, only about 10 have returned, some having fled the conflict zone.

The exact number of Indians serving in Russia remains unclear, though some reports suggest that over 100 individuals have joined the Russian military as helpers, often lured by dubious recruitment agencies with false promises.

The Russian embassy denies recruiting any Indians for military service. While both countries' foreign offices are engaged in discussions over this issue, the exact circumstances surrounding the Indians' presence in conflict areas and Moscow's alleged inaction remain points of contention.

India's focus now lies on retrieving the bodies of the fallen soldiers and ensuring the safe return of all its citizens from the conflict zone, while also demanding accountability from Russia for their recruitment and the subsequent disregard for their safety.

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