India to Russia: We Want Our Duped Citizens Back

Authorities say men were lured to Russia with promise of jobs, ended up in Army
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 8, 2024 9:40 AM CST
India to Russia: We Want Our Duped Citizens Back
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Russian Army veterans during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden on Defender of the Fatherland Day, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.   (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

India authorities on Friday said they are in talks with Russia's government about the return of Indian citizens who were duped into working for the Russian army, a day after a federal investigation agency said it broke up a human trafficking network that lured people to Russia under the pretext of giving them jobs. India's foreign ministry said the government has initiated action against a network of agents who operated across India and duped the men into traveling to Russia, reports the AP.

On Thursday, India's Central Bureau of Investigation said at least 35 Indian nationals have been sent to Russia after being recruited through social media and local agents. It said the men were being trained in combat roles and deployed at frontline bases in the Russia-Ukraine war against their wishes. Some of the men were "grievously injured," it said, with the BBC reporting two men have been killed.

A rep for the Indian External Affairs Ministry urged Indian citizens not to be deceived by offers by agents of support jobs with the Russian army. "This is fraught with danger and risk to life," he said. One man from Uttar Pradesh state who is now in Moscow tells the BBC he ended up in Russia after seeing a promise of a job that paid about $1,800 a month on a YouTube channel. "We were not told that we are being drafted in an army," he said. India considers Russia a time-tested ally from the Cold War era and has so far avoided voting against Russia at the UN or criticizing Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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