In Big Breakthrough During PM Modi’s Visit, Russia To Discharge Indian Recruits Fighting In Ukraine War

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin at his official residence at Novo-Ogaryovo for a private engagement, in Moscow, on July 8 2024. (PTI)

According to reports, four Indians have been killed in the war, while 10 have returned to the country. About 35-40 Indians are still believed to be stuck in Russia

Russia has decided to discharge and facilitate the return of all Indians fighting for the Russian army in Ukraine, a major breakthrough achieved during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow, sources said on Tuesday. The development came after PM Modi took up the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their private dinner on Monday, the sources added.

Modi is on a key two-day visit to time-tested ally Russia, his first since the Ukraine war broke out in February 2022. Modi last travelled to Russia in 2019, while the two leaders last met at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Uzbekistan in 2022.

The plight of Indians fighting for Russia in the Ukraine war is a key concern for New Delhi. In recent months, reports have surfaced about Indians who have fallen prey to job frauds, and were tricked and forced by scammers to fight for the Russian army, which allows recruits from other countries. One such group had even posted a video on social media narrating their ordeal, asking the government to intervene.

According to reports, four Indians have been killed in the war, while 10 have returned to the country. About 35-40 Indians are still believed to be stuck in Russia.

India’s Foreign Ministry has earlier said that it is pressing hard to bring back the recruits tricked by agents. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has said the issue is a “very deep concern” for India, and has been engaging with Russia for the past few months for a headway.

India has maintained that the recruitment of Indian nationals in the Russian army in a conflict situation is not in consonance with the India-Russia diplomatic partnership, and has asked for an early release and return of all such Indian nationals. India has also demanded a stop to such recruitments in the future. In such a backdrop, the breakthrough during PM Modi’s visit would be a major relief for the families of the recruits still stuck in Russia.

Two Indians, Ashvinbhai Mangukiya and Mohammad Asfan (both from Gujarat), were reported killed in the Ukraine war earlier this year. Two others were reported killed in June.

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