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Russian Army discharges several Indian 'helpers', 1 killed in action

Last updated on: February 26, 2024 21:18 IST

Several Indians, who worked as support staff to the Russian army, were 'discharged' following India's demand, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday.

IMAGE: Indian men trapped in Russian warzone. Photograph: X

It said India remains committed, as a matter of 'top priority', to actively pursuing with the Russian authorities all the relevant cases of Indian nationals for an early discharge from the Russian army.

According to media reports, several Indians have been working as security helpers in the Russian military, and they were forced to even fight with Russian soldiers in certain areas along Russia's border with Ukraine.


'We have seen some inaccurate reports in the media regarding Indians with the Russian army seeking help for discharge,' the MEA said in a statement.

'Each and every such case brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Moscow has been strongly taken up with the Russian authorities and those brought to the attention of the ministry have been taken up with the Russian embassy in New Delhi,' it said.

The MEA added, 'Several Indians have already been discharged as a result.'

Meanwhile, a 23-year-old man from Surat working as a 'helper' for the Russian Army was killed in a Ukrainian missile strike in a war zone, as per the claim made by his relatives.

Relatives of the deceased, Hemil Mangukiya, on Monday, urged the Central government to help them get back his mortal remains.

Surat district collector Sourabh Pardhi said no official confirmation has been received as of now.

"We are awaiting details. No official confirmation has been received so far. We will share (details) once confirmed," he said.

Hemil had made a Whatsapp call to his family members in Surat on February 20, and on the next day, he was killed near the Ukraine border in a missile strike by Ukraine, claimed his uncle Suresh Mangukiya.

"We humbly request the government to help us get back his body to Surat," he said.

Hemil had worked in an embroidery business earlier, his cousin brother Darshan Savani told reporters.

"Hemil had moved to Russia to join the Army two months back. He was working as a helper with a monthly salary of Rs 50,000," according to Darshan.

He had made a WhatsApp call to his family members on February 20 and asked them not to worry about him, which was his last communication, Darshan claimed.

He claimed Hemil decided to leave India in search of a job for better prospects.

"He had applied for a few jobs abroad but his applications were rejected. Meanwhile, he came across a job opening as a helper with the Russian army for a salary of Rs 50,000 and applied," Darshan claimed.

Hemil had paid Rs 3 lakh to a Mumbai-based agent to help him go to Russia. Upon reaching Russia, his employer made him sign a contract, as per which he was deployed in a war zone and his salary was raised to Rs 2 lakh, according to Darshan.

He said Hemil's family members allowed him to go to Russia as he was promised a decent salary. He left for Russia on December 14, Darshan added.

"We came to know about Hemil's death through his acquaintance on February 23. His friend from Nepal also died similarly," he added.

Darshan and Suresh Mangukiya also claimed that Hemil was influenced by a video asking youth to take up a job with the Russian Army.

"He made up his mind to join the Russian Army after viewing that video and met an agent in Mumbai," Suresh Mangukiya claimed.

Last week, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said New Delhi was in touch with Moscow for early 'discharge' of Indians working as support staff to the Russian Army and urged its nationals to stay away from the conflict zone in Ukraine.

"We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict," he had said.

All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi had urged the ministry to rescue the Indians.

In a related development, the Jammu and Kashmir Students Association said it wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, seeking their intervention for repatriation of two youths 'trapped' in Russia.

It said one youth is trapped along the Russia-Ukraine border and another reportedly missing within Russia.

In a statement, the national convener of the association, Nasir Khuehami, said that Azad Yusuf Kumar and several others have been ensnared in a fraudulent recruitment scheme, wherein they were deceived into travelling to Russia under false promises of job opportunities in cooking and cleaning.

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