Nepalis trapped in Russian Army make desperate pleas for rescue


December 12, 2023


Nepalis trapped in Russian Army make desperate pleas for rescue

Three Nepali youths at the Tribhuvan International Airport prior to flying to Russia.

KATHMANDU: In what can be termed as a tragic turn of events, Nepali citizens who joined the Russian army, lured by promises of lucrative earnings, find themselves trapped in the war zone, prompting urgent calls for their rescue.

Rajkumar, a young entrepreneur from Birtamod in Jhapa, fell victim to the deceitful assurances of Surya Rai from Morang, who convinced him that joining the Russian Army would bring substantial monthly earnings.

Rajkumar, having left for Moscow with high hopes, is now unreachable in the midst of the war, leaving his family devastated.

Similarly, another young man from Ilam, Bhujel, paid a hefty sum to a broker and, along with 24 fellow Nepali youths, now faces the grim prospect of deployment to the war zone.

Despite having a successful tipper business in Nepal, Bhujel succumbed to the manipulation of unscrupulous brokers and joined the Russian Army as a mercenary.

The plight extends to a Tamang community member, the brother-in-law of a local chief in Ilam, who also made the fateful journey to Russia.

He, along with Bhujel, is undergoing training in a temporary camp before potentially being sent to the dangerous conflict area.

News of Nepali citizens losing their lives in the Russian army has instilled fear and panic among those trapped, especially Bhujel and the Tamang youth.

Rajkumar, their companion, has been out of contact for a week, intensifying their anxiety.

Bhujel, communicating via WhatsApp from an undisclosed location in Ukraine, described their dire situation:

“We are a group of 24 Nepalis, unsure of our location or the fate that awaits us. Some of us wish to return to Nepal urgently, while others may not have that opportunity. Our friend, Rajkumar, might be in the warzone, possibly around Lohan City, but there’s no way to confirm. We’ve lost contact with him for almost two months. Five Nepalis lost their lives recently, and the details are scarce. Surya Rai from Morang Belbari misled us, and the person behind it is Suraj Thapa from Tinkune, Kathmandu.”

It has come to light that Nepali youths who have arrived in Russia are being recruited into the army through contractual agreements with the Ministry of Defense.

According to documents accessed by Khabarhub, the agreement aligns with Russia’s 2008 federal law governing military service and explicitly outlines compensation and benefits for the families of individuals engaged in military service.

The agreement further details provisions for training, coaching, weekly leave rights, and compensation for working on holidays.

The document stipulates that leave will adhere to Russian federal law, and soldiers will have residential rights, with corresponding compensation if not received.

In 2016 and 2019, Russia implemented policies compensating residential rent for its servicemen, retired civilians, and their families, although the law remains silent on provisions for foreign citizens.

However, the agreement with Nepali youths explicitly states, “The serviceman is guaranteed living quarters or provided with financial compensation.”

Additionally, the agreement assures compulsory personal insurance at the expense of the federal budget and underscores the commitment to safeguarding the educational rights of military servicemen.

Examining the agreement, it appears that the Russian government, in collaboration with its Ministry of Defense, plays a role in enlisting Nepali youths who were unlawfully transported from Nepal by smugglers as mercenary soldiers.

This week, the Government of Nepal formally requested the Russian government to repatriate these individuals, emphasizing the absence of any agreement between Nepal and Russia for Nepali citizens to join the Russian Army.

However, Moscow has not shown urgency in addressing this matter, and the bodies of six Nepalis who lost their lives in Russia are yet to be repatriated.