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Military Intelligence: Nepalese mercenaries desert Russian army in droves

by Kateryna Denisova May 1, 2024 8:56 PM 2 min read
Russian soldiers outside Simferopol, Crimea, on March 20, 2014. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia's mercenaries from Nepal deployed in Ukraine are deserting the Russian army in droves, Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR) reported on May 1.

Russia has been reportedly recruiting foreigners from such countries as Nepal, Somalia, India, Cuba, and others to fight in Ukraine from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Moscow use them as "cannon fodder" on the front without preparing mercenaries for combat activities, said Petro Yatsenko, a spokesperson of Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

The Nepalese soldiers, assigned to military unit number 29328 of Russia's Armed Forces, are deserting due to heavy losses, non-payment of salaries, and commanders' abuse, "including executions for refusing to follow orders," according to HUR.

The agency published an alleged list of soldiers and profiles of some mercenaries. The Russian military has mostly failed at finding fleeing mercenaries in the occupied territories of Luhansk Oblast, where the military unit was deployed, HUR said.

In reports to the top leadership, Russian commanders claim that an earthquake in Nepal was the reason for mercenaries' desertion, according to the agency.

"Getting from occupied Luhansk Oblast back to Nepal alone is not an easy task. In addition, Nepalese citizens may face prosecution in their own country for participating in hostilities against Ukraine as part of the Russian army," HUR said.

Over 18,000 soldiers of the Southern Military District have abandoned their posts, with around 12,000 of them belonging to the 8th Combined Arms Army – a unit often deployed in hostilities in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's military intelligence said on April 29.

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