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Russia Pledges Swift Resolution to Issue of Indians Misled into Joining Army

Russia is committed to finding the “earliest possible solution” to the issue of Indians being deceived into joining its army and fighting in the Ukraine war, a senior Russian diplomat stated, marking Moscow’s first official comments on the matter.

Seeking the discharge of Indians who were recruited under false pretenses has been a key focus of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week.

An Indian official accompanying Modi said on Tuesday that Russia has promised their prompt release.

“The Russian army does not need Indians, especially in such small numbers… They do not impact the situation on the battlefield in any way,” Roman Babushkin, the Charge d’Affaires of the Russian Embassy in India, said late on Wednesday.

He told news agency ANI that while most Indians fighting in the war were there for “commercial purposes,” some were tricked into joining by agents. He added that India and Russia were coordinating closely to find a solution to the problem. Reuters has a minority stake in ANI.

When asked about Russia’s investigation, Babushkin said the probe should take place in both Russia and India, as the agents involved are primarily located in India.

India reported last week that about 30 to 40 Indians, lured to Russia by the promise of lucrative jobs and educational opportunities, are now believed to be fighting in the Russian army. At least four Indians have been killed in the conflict.

India has arrested at least four individuals suspected to be part of a nationwide human-trafficking network behind the scheme and has repatriated 10 Indian nationals from Russia so far.

New Delhi and Moscow have maintained close ties since the Soviet era, and recently, India has been purchasing record amounts of discounted Russian oil after the West imposed sanctions on Russia’s crude following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

India has not condemned Russia for the conflict, instead advocating for peace through dialogue and diplomacy.

However, during his visit, Modi used emotive language to implicitly rebuke Putin, expressing that the death of innocent children was painful and terrifying, a day after a lethal strike on a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Russia has claimed, without providing evidence, that the hospital was struck by a Ukrainian anti-missile system.

Source: Reuters

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