India confirms citizens ‘signed up’ for Russian army


India’s foreign ministry confirmed Friday that some of the country’s citizens had signed up for “support jobs” with the Russian army and said it was working with Moscow to secure their discharge.

The Hindu newspaper reported Wednesday that around 18 Indians were stranded in various border towns along the frontlines of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

At least three had been “forced” to fight alongside the Russians, the newspaper reported.

The foreign ministry did not confirm that Indians had taken combat roles in the conflict. But it said in a statement that it was “aware that a few Indian nationals have signed up for support jobs with the Russian army”.

“The Indian Embassy has regularly taken up this matter with the relevant Russian authorities for their early discharge,” the statement.

“We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict.”

The Hindu’s report alleged that Indians had been conned by Dubai-based recruiters with promises of high wages and a Russian passport.

Upon arriving in Moscow, the Indians were reportedly trained to handle “arms and ammunition by the Russian Army” and shipped to the frontlines in January.

The newspaper said that while some Indian nationals had reportedly volunteered for Ukrainian forces in the current conflict, this was the first known instance of their alleged involvement on the other side.

One of the men had told the newspaper that his “repeated pleas” for repatriation had gone “unheeded” to the Indian Embassy in Moscow.

Two years after Russia’s invasion began, Ukraine is facing what President Volodymyr Zelensky has acknowledged is an “extremely difficult” situation on the frontlines.

Ukraine has been weakened by the blocking of US aid, its failed counter-offensive against a bigger and richer army, and worsening ammunition