Skip to content
Edit post

India identifies 'major human trafficking network' luring Indians to fight for Russia in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 8, 2024 1:23 PM 2 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)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) announced on March 7 that it had busted a "major human trafficking network" that used false pretenses to entice Indian nationals to fight with Russian forces in the war in Ukraine.

The news came after multiple media reports said that Indian men who came to Russia for work or tourism were then coerced or tricked into joining the war against Ukraine.

Russia's war against Ukraine has 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.

The CBI said the trafficking network was "luring Indian nationals through social media channels like Youtube etc., and also through their local contacts/agents for highly paid jobs in Russia."

"Thereafter, the trafficked Indian nationals were trained in combat roles and deployed at front bases in (the) Russia - Ukraine War Zone against their wishes, thus, putting their lives in grave danger. It has been ascertained that some of the victims also got grievously injured in the war zone."

The Guardian and other media outlets have also reported that some Indian nationals have also been killed fighting for Russia in Ukraine.

The CBI said it had conducted raids in 13 different locations in cities around India and had identified at least 35 instances of Indians being sent abroad. It did not specify if all 35 had been sent to Ukraine.

"We are aware... the Indian Embassy has taken up their early discharge with the relevant Russian authorities. We urge all Indians to stay away from this conflict," a spokesperson of the Indian government said.

"An appeal is made to the general public not to fall prey for such false promises of jobs by the dubious recruitment agencies and agents," the CBI said.

India's neighbor, Nepal, stopped issuing work permits for its citizens to work in Russia in January after growing numbers of Nepalese fighters have been reported killed fighting for the Russian army in Ukraine.

India and Russia have long had close ties. The Soviet Union was a critical supplier of military equipment to India as it faced off with its primary foe, Pakistan, which was backed by the U.S.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, India has largely maintained a neutral stance, declining to condemn Moscow's military aggression or join the West in isolating Russia.

India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that Indo-Russia ties are "very strong, very steady" at a press conference during his visit to Moscow in December 2023.

Reuters: US sanctions may threaten Russian oil sales to India
A new U.S. sanctions package against Russia may threaten Russian oil exports to India, a major source of funding for its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported on Feb. 28.
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
9:56 AM

Russia launched counterspace weapon into orbit, US says.

Wood described the move as "troubling." Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder separately said on May 21 the U.S. was monitoring the situation and had a "responsibility to be ready to protect and defend… the space domain."
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.