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Russia to release Indians fighting in Ukraine after PM Modi raises issue with President Putin: Report

PM Modi, currently in Moscow for a two-day visit, raised the issue at a private dinner hosted by Putin on Monday evening. Nearly two dozen Indians had reportedly been coerced into fighting in the war against Ukraine after being deceived by agents promising high-paying jobs.

Russia has reportedly agreed to release and facilitate the return of all Indians fighting for the Russian army in Ukraine. This breakthrough followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussion with President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow, an IANS report quoting sources said.

PM Modi, currently in Moscow for a two-day visit, raised the issue at a private dinner hosted by Putin on Monday evening, the report said. Nearly two dozen Indians had reportedly been coerced into fighting in the war against Ukraine after being deceived by agents promising high-paying jobs.

In March, the Indian government announced they had “strongly” addressed the matter with Russian authorities to expedite the discharge of these individuals. “Strong action has been initiated against agents and unscrupulous elements who recruited them under false pretences,” officials stated.

Reports indicate that four Indians have died in the conflict, while 10 have returned to India. Approximately 35–40 Indians are believed to still be in Russia. The situation of Indians forced to fight in the Ukraine war remains a significant concern for New Delhi.

Recent reports have highlighted the plight of Indians who fell victim to job fraud and were coerced into joining the Russian army, which accepts foreign recruits. Some of these individuals have shared their experiences on social media, pleading for government intervention.

India’s Foreign Ministry has been working diligently to repatriate those misled by agents. Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar emphasised that this issue is of “very deep concern” for India, and has been in talks with Russia for several months to make progress.

Earlier this year, two Indians from Gujarat, Ashvinbhai Mangukiya and Mohammad Asfan, were reported killed in the Ukraine conflict, with two more deaths reported in June. India has consistently maintained that recruiting Indian nationals into the Russian army during a conflict is incompatible with the India-Russia diplomatic partnership, calling for the early release and return of these individuals, and demanding an end to such recruitments in the future. The breakthrough during PM Modi’s visit is expected to bring significant relief to the families of those still in Russia.

PM Modi arrived in Moscow on Monday evening, marking his first visit to the country since the war against Ukraine began. Russia’s First Deputy PM Denis Manturov welcomed him at the airport. The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Putin on Tuesday and attend the 22nd India-Russia summit in Moscow. This visit is PM Modi’s first since his re-election for a third term, as he balances maintaining a longstanding relationship with Moscow while strengthening Western security ties.

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