Russian army recruited 15,000 Nepalis to fight against Ukraine, CNN reported on Feb. 11, citing multiple sources.
As Russian casualties on the battlefield mount, the government in Moscow has announced the recruitment of foreigners into its army for a salary of $2,000 and quickly obtaining Russian citizenship.
Meanwhile, the Nepali government claims only about 200 of its citizens are fighting in Ukraine on the Russian side, with at least 13 having been killed in action and four captured as prisoners of war.
The opposition Nepali lawmaker and former foreign minister, Bimala Rai Paudyal, said that between 14,000 and 15,000 Nepalis are fighting in Ukraine, citing testimony from men returning from the front line.
CNN geolocated two training centers in Russia where Nepalis and other foreigners are training before being deployed to the front line in Ukraine.
Nepal urged the Russian government to stop recruiting Nepalese citizens into its army in December after at least six of its nationals were confirmed killed. The authorities then uncovered a domestic smuggling ring that recruited youths as foreign fighters for the Russian military.
Reuters reported on Jan. 5 that Nepal has halted issuing foreign work permits for its citizens to work in Russia until further notice after growing numbers of Nepalese mercenaries have been reported killed fighting for the Russian army in Ukraine.
The only foreign armies Nepalese law permits its citizens to serve in are the Indian and British armies. The British Brigade of Gurkhas, which has existed for over 200 years, comprises of Nepalese fighters.
The U.K.'s Defense Ministry reported in September that Russia was trying to recruit foreigners and migrant workers to avoid announcing another mobilization drive before the presidential elections, which are to be held in March 2024.