NEW DELHI: India’s foreign ministry conceded on 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 on Wednesday that 18 Indians were stranded in various border towns along Russia’s frontier with Ukraine.

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.

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 last month.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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