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'There has never been any such announcement' Russia Clarifies Indian Recruits for Commercial Reasons

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised concerns about Indians being misled into joining the Russian Army, Moscow clarified that these recruitments were purely commercial and that they did not want Indians in their army. A Russian diplomat, quoted by news agency PTI, said, “They are there purely for commercial reasons and we did […]

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised concerns about Indians being misled into joining the Russian Army, Moscow clarified that these recruitments were purely commercial and that they did not want Indians in their army. A Russian diplomat, quoted by news agency PTI, said, “They are there purely for commercial reasons and we did not want to recruit them.”

Several Indians were lured to Russia with promises of well-paying jobs but ended up joining the Russian Army to fight against Ukraine. Since the war began in February 2022, at least four Indian nationals have been killed.

During his two-day visit to Moscow, PM Modi discussed this issue informally with President Vladimir Putin. Following their talks, Moscow agreed to discharge and facilitate the return of all Indians recruited as support staff in the Russian Army. Russia’s Charge d’affaires, Roman Babushkin, stated that Moscow never intended for Indians to be part of its Army and emphasized that their numbers are insignificant in the larger conflict.

“We have never wanted Indians in the Russian Army. There has never been any such announcement from Russian authorities,” Babushkin said.

He explained that most Indians were recruited under a commercial framework, seeking financial opportunities. He added that the number of Indians involved, whether 50, 60, or 100, is insignificant in the larger conflict context and reiterated that they were there for commercial reasons, not because Russia sought to recruit them.

Babushkin also mentioned that many of the Indians working as support staff did so illegally without the appropriate visas, having entered Russia on tourist visas.

When asked about compensation and Russian citizenship for the families of those killed, Babushkin said it “should happen anyway as per the contractual obligations.”

So far, at least four Indians have been killed, with about 35–50 recruits believed to be in the Russian Army. Ten have been allowed to return.

Following these deaths, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) demanded a verified stop to further recruitment of Indian nationals by the Russian Army, stating that such activities do not align with the partnership between India and Russia.

This issue was a top priority for PM Modi during his Moscow visit.

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