Seven more Indians forced to fight in Russia seek government help

In video message, the men say this could be their last video and allege they were forced by police to join Russian Army or face imprisonment; they claim to have gone to Russia on tourist visas

March 06, 2024 12:57 am | Updated 07:42 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Indians stuck on the Russia border seen in a screenshot from a video. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Indians stuck on the Russia border seen in a screenshot from a video. Photo: Special Arrangement

A group of seven more Indians stuck on the Russia-Ukraine border released two videos this week seeking the government’s help to return to India.

The seven Indians have been identified as Gagandeep Singh (24), Lovepreet Singh (24), Narain Singh (22), Gurpreet Singh (21), Gurpreet Singh (23), Harsh Kumar (20) and Abhishek Kumar (21). While five workers are said to be from Punjab, the other two are from Haryana.

One of the men said that they arrived in Russia on tourist visas and were forced to join the Russian Army as “helpers” after police detained them for not possessing a “slip”.

The men alleged that they were forced by the police to join the Russian Army or risk facing 10 years imprisonment.

Editorial | Lives and livelihoods: On perils and the Indian emigrant 

“We were told that we only have to work as helpers. But they enlisted us for training in arms and ammunition and are preparing to send us to Ukraine. They kept us hungry and snatched our phones,” one of the men, who is speaking Punjabi, said in a video on March 3.

He added that their fervent pleas for help with the Russians have not yielded any result.

“The Russian Army tells us that we can leave only after a year. They are asking us to help them win the war. We don’t know how to help them. If we don’t, we may not survive,” the man in his early 20s said in the video.

The same group released another video on March 4.

In Pictures | A look back at the two years of Russia-Ukraine war

One of the workers says in Hindi: “We had made you aware of our plight earlier also. There are many Indians stuck in either Ukraine or Russia. We request the Indian Embassy and the Indian government to help us. This could be our last video, they are sending us to the war zone in Ukraine.”

The Hindu reported first on February 20 that at least three Indians who were hired as security helpers by Russia were forced to fight alongside the country’s forces on the Russia-Ukraine border. The Hindu subsequently reported that there are around 100 Indians who are said to have been hired by the Russian Army in the past one year.

Russia and Ukraine have been at war since February 24, 2022. While a few Indians volunteered to join the International Legion created to fight Russian forces in Ukraine in 2022, the presence of Indians on the Russian side in combat role has been reported for the first time.

On February 29, India for the first time categorically stated that “around 20” Indians had reached out to the Indian Embassy in Moscow seeking help in returning to India. The External Affairs Ministry’s official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said India is in contact with Russia to bring back the Indian nationals.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.