Ukraine war: India busts network trafficking people to Russia

  • By Cherylann Mollan
  • BBC News, Delhi

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Two Indians have died after allegedly being sent to the battlefield

Authorities in India say they have busted a network of agents who sent people to Ukraine to fight for Russia on the pretext of giving them jobs.

The officers lured people through social media, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said.

The network spans several states and about 35 people have fallen victim to the racket, the agency said.

The development comes after two Indians, who were tricked into traveling to Russia, were killed in the war.

The CBI said in a statement that the traffickers operated under an “organized network”.

It said officers used social media channels such as YouTube and their local contacts to lure “gullible” youth to Russia by promising them “lucrative jobs.”

Earlier, a man from the state of Uttar Pradesh who lived in Moscow told the BBC that he had been lured to Russia by a YouTube channel, promising a monthly salary of 150,000 rupees ($1,813; £1,415).

“We were not told we were being drafted into an army,” he said.

The CBI said it had found that trafficked Indian nationals were being trained in combat roles and deployed to frontline bases in the Russia-Ukraine war zone “against their wishes, putting their lives in grave danger”.

The agency has filed cases against several private visa consultancies and agents, conducting searches at 13 locations, including Delhi and Mumbai.

The CBI said it has seized cash worth Rs 5 million, “incriminating documents” and electronic devices from these places and detained some people for questioning.

India’s Foreign Ministry had earlier acknowledged “that some Indian nationals have signed up for support positions with the Russian military.”

It added that it was working with Russian authorities to get Indian nationals discharged from the military.

The ministry has also urged “all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict”.

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