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Russia to release Indians ‘tricked’ into joining army, Modi secures assurance from Putin

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Russia has promised to release Indians who were tricked into joining its army, an issue that prime minister Narendra Modi discussed with President Vladimir Putin, an Indian official said on Tuesday (9).

India has been working to free its citizens whose families say they were misled into going to Russia with the promise of “support jobs” in the army but were later forced into combat in Ukraine.

“The Prime Minister strongly raised the issue of early discharge of Indian nationals who have been misled into the service of the Russian army,” Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told reporters in Moscow as Modi wrapped up a two-day visit.

He said the Russian side had promised the early discharge of all such people.

Kwatra said the situation affected 35-50 Indians, of whom 10 had already been brought home. He said the two countries would now work to expedite the remaining cases.

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Modi visited Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin. During the visit, Modi raised concerns about Indian nationals who were allegedly deceived into joining the Russian army with promises of support jobs but were later forced into combat in Ukraine. Russia assured Modi that these Indians would be released. The visit focused on strengthening bilateral ties and addressing key issues impacting both nations.

Putin has accepted Modi’s request for the early discharge of Indians hired as security helpers who were forced to fight alongside the Russian Army against Ukraine.

Moscow is offering compensation packages and citizenship to the families of the deceased. Families of those still stuck in Russia are demanding a time-bound assurance for their relatives’ discharge, as they have been in the war zone for over six months.

Ashvinbhai Mangukiya from Gujarat, whose son Hemil was killed in a Ukrainian airstrike, expressed willingness to accept Russian citizenship. Hemil, 23, was hired as a helper for the Russian Army and was killed on February 21 at Donetsk. The family is entitled to $158,000 in compensation, Russian citizenship, and a monthly stipend for minor children. Mangukiya has already received $54,700 and is processing the citizenship.

At least four Indians have died, and two are missing in the conflict. Around 50 Indians are serving in the Russian Army, with 30 seeking to return. The Hindu reported that Indians on tourist visas were offered jobs as security helpers but forced to fight. Families like those of Sahil from Haryana and Sameer Ahmad from Karnataka are anxious for their relatives’ safe return.

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