Indians Forced To Fight Russia’s War Put Out Video: ‘Get Us Out Of Here’

The men have said they had gone to Russia as tourists last December

A group of men from Punjab and Haryana, who have claimed that they were tricked into joining the Russian Army and fighting the war in Ukraine, have put out a new video, doubling down on their request for help.

The video shows six men, dressed in military-style winter jackets with hoods. The location tag is “Sadove, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine”.

Addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the men says, “We are stuck with the Russian army. Earlier, too, we put out a video seeking help from the Indian government. We urge you to get in touch with the embassy in Moscow and the government here and ensure that we are out of here at the earliest. We know that India and Russia have very good relations and that you will extract us from here. Thank you.”

Earlier this month, this group had put out a video, seeking immediate evacuation. In that 105-second video, seven men had explained their situation and sought help. This video is shorter – about 26 seconds.

NDTV has learnt that this group left for Russia on December 27 to celebrate the New Year there. They had a 90-day visa for Russia. In the earlier video, 19-year-old Harsh from Haryana’s Karnal said an agent in Russia had offered to take them to Belarus.

“We were not aware we needed a visa. When we went to Belarus (without a visa) the agent asked us for more money and then abandoned us. The police caught us and handed us over to Russian authorities, who made us sign documents,” he claimed in the video. “Now they (Russia) are forcing us to fight in the war against Ukraine.”

Harsh’s family has earlier told NDTV that he had been looking for jobs abroad and was reportedly told that it would be easier to emigrate to a country of his choice if he went via Russia.

“My son went abroad on December 23. He went in search of work and was caught in Russia, where his passport was snatched away. He told us they had been caught by Russian soldiers, who threatened him with 10 years of jail and recruited him. He said he was forced to do military training,” his mother has claimed. “I want the government to bring my son safely home.”

Belarus is seen as one of Moscow’s closest allies and joint military drills have led to speculation that Minsk could be prepping for a more active role in the war.

Besides this group from Haryana and Punjab, at least 10 Indians from different states are reportedly stuck on the frontline after they went to Russia through agents, hoping to get jobs of security guards or labourers.

The External Affairs Ministry has said it is aware that some Indians had become caught up in Russia’s war on Ukraine, and that it is working with Moscow to bring them home. “We are aware… the Indian Embassy has taken up their early discharge with the relevant Russian authorities. We urge all Indians to stay away from this conflict,” a government spokesperson has said.

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