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India arrests 4 suspected of luring men to fight for Russia in Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek May 8, 2024 5:46 PM 1 min read
A printout of Indian national Mohammed Asfan, seen wearing Russian military fatigues, who last called family from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don before being deployed to the war in Ukraine, held by his brother Mohammed Imran in Hyderabad, India, on Feb. 22, 2024. (Noah Seelam/AFP via Getty Images)
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Four people were arrested in India on suspicions of tricking Indian men into traveling to Russia for lucrative jobs only to be forced to serve in the military, the country's law enforcement agency said on May 7.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said in March it had identified 35 cases of Indian men being lured to fight for Moscow in Ukraine. At least two have been confirmed as killed in combat.

The four detainees included a translator, a person facilitating visa and transport, and two recruiters for the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the CBI said.

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"(An) investigation is continuing against other accused persons who are part of this international network of human traffickers," the statement read.

The Indian government said it "has taken up their early discharge with the relevant Russian authorities."

The case presents a potential complication in the otherwise warm relationship between Moscow and New Delhi, marked by close economic and diplomatic ties.

Russia's war against Ukraine resulted in heavy casualties for the Russian military. Seeking to limit unpopular conscription among the domestic population, Moscow has been attracting foreign recruits from countries in Central or South Asia and elsewhere.

Media: Indian men tricked, coerced into fighting for Russia
Seven young men from the Indian states of Punjab and Haryana appealed to Indian authorities for help earlier this week in a video shared on the social platform X.
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