10 Indians serving with Russian military have returned home: MEA

New Delhi: Ten Indians working as support staff with the Russian military have been released and repatriated even as the Indian side continues to press Moscow to ensure the return of all other citizens serving in such positions.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (File Photo)

Indian authorities have acknowledged that two Indian nationals have been killed while serving with Russian military units on the front lines of the conflict with Ukraine and that 20-odd Indians have so far sought help to be released from their jobs as support staff so that they can return home.

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“Ten such individuals have come back to India – they have been released and they have returned home,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing on Thursday.

The Indian side is “very actively pursuing” the case of all Indians serving with the Russian military at various levels, including with the foreign ministry, defence ministry and several other organisations in Russia, he said.

“We are committed to bring back all the people who so far have got in touch with us and want to be released and repatriated and return back home,” Jaiswal said.

“We have been assured by the Russian side that the other Indians who are there, they’ll also be released and will return home. We are working out those details,” he added.

Referring to the case of an Indian national from Jammu and Kashmir serving in the Russian military and whose relatives were allegedly asked by Indian officials to get in touch with Russian authorities to ensure his release, Jaiswal said Indian officials are in touch with Russian authorities and “remain committed to bring him back as well”.

Indian authorities have not provided the exact number of Indians currently working as support staff with the Russian military. They have only given the figures of those who had contacted Indian authorities for help to return home.

Reports have suggested that around 200 Indian nationals have been hired as support staff, such as cooks and helpers, by the Russian military since last year. Many Indian nationals were duped into taking up such jobs by recruiting agents based in Indian cities and Dubai. Besides the two deaths, several Indians have been injured. Indians have also posted videos on social media seeking help to get out of their jobs with the Russian Army.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently busted a human trafficking network spread across several states that lured gullible young men through social media channels and agents with the promise of highly paid jobs in Russia. The trafficked Indians “were trained in combat roles” and deployed against their wishes at frontline bases in the Russia-Ukraine war zone, putting their lives in grave danger, the CBI said.

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