Nepal has urged the Russian government to stop recruiting Nepalese citizens into its army, amid growing reports of Nepalese mercenaries being killed while fighting in Ukraine, the Kathmandu Post reported on Dec. 5.
The Nepal government has so far confirmed the deaths of at least six Nepali nationals who were serving in the Russian army in Ukraine, the Kathmandu Post said.
The government lacks accurate data on how many of its citizens are currently fighting for Russia, but Milan Raj Tuladhar, the Nepalese ambassador to Moscow, told the newspaper that up to 200 have served in the Russian army.
"We have urged the Russian government to discourage entry and recruitment of Nepali nationals," Tuladhar said.
Tuladhar has also asked the Nepal government "to take stringent measures to curb smuggling of Nepali citizens to Russia."
Many Nepali citizens arrive in Russia on student and tourist visas, and then join the Russian army, the Kathmandu Post reported.
The case mirrors that of Cuba, which in September uncovered a human trafficking ring aimed at recruiting people to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
The Nepalese Foreign Ministry released a statement in August, urging its citizens not to travel abroad to fight in "war-torn countries."
Nepalese law permits its citizens to serve in the Indian and British armies. The British Brigade of Gurkhas, which has existed for over 200 years, is solely made up of Nepalese fighters.
The U.K.'s Defense Ministry reported in September that Russia was trying to recruit foreigners to avoid announcing a new mobilization before the presidential elections, which are to be held in 2024.