Indian Men ‘Tricked’ Into Fighting in Ukraine Appeal for Help

A group of men from northern India who claim they were tricked into fighting for Russia in the war against Ukraine are now calling on their government to secure their release, Indian media report. reported Wednesday.

In a video published by broadcaster NDTV, seven men are seen standing in a dingy room wearing green military fatigues, similar to those worn by soldiers in the Russian army.

According to the news channel, the men reportedly left for Russia on December 27 to celebrate the New Year’s holidays, after which they attempted to visit neighboring Belarus.

“A [tour] An agent offered to take us to Belarus… we didn’t know we needed a visa. When we went to Belarus [without a visa] the officer asked us for more money and then abandoned us,” said the man who recorded the video by NDTV, who identified him as Harsh, 19.

“The police arrested us and handed us over to the Russian authorities, who made us sign documents,” he said. “Now her [Russia] force us to fight in the war against Ukraine.”

When Harsh’s family contacted NDTV, he said he had also traveled to Russia in search of work abroad.

“He told us that they had been captured by Russian soldiers who threatened him with ten years in prison and recruited him. He said he was forced to undergo military training,” his mother said.

“I want the government to bring my son home safely,” she said.

Last week, India’s foreign ministry said it was working to secure the release of about 20 citizens “detained” in the Russian military.

Several Indian recruits told AFP in February that they had been lured to join Moscow’s armed forces by promises of high salaries and Russian citizenship.

Neither India nor Moscow have explicitly confirmed whether the Indian nationals recruited by the Russian military were deployed to fight on the front lines in Ukraine.

The Russian military is known to recruit foreigners from Central Asian countries, but recent media reports have revealed that Moscow’s recruitment efforts are also targeting citizens from India, Cuba and Nepal, among others.

AFP contributed to the reporting.

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