Indian men claim they’ve been forced to fight for Russia’s military in Ukraine

World

It’s a war they didn’t sign up for. 

Several Indian men allege they have been forced into fighting for the Russian military in Ukraine.

Thousands of miles away in their village of Mator in Haryana, their families spoke to Sky News about their loved ones caught up in a war zone.

Sky News was shown multiple Russian Ministry of Defence contracts that state the men must perform military duty and service to defend the Russian Federation.

Image:
The Russian Ministry of Defence contracts

It carries the sign of a commander and the stamp of the military unit.

The men and their families claim they were coerced into signing these contracts.

Seeking a job in Russia, the men travelled on tourist visas.

More on India

They were then arrested by Russian authorities for violating visa laws and told to either serve for a year in the Russian military or face 10 years in prison.

Their phones and passports were confiscated and were taken to a military camp where they were made to sign a contract in Russian.

Families insist the men went for non-combatant jobs. With less than 15 days of training, they were thrust into battle.

Ajay, the elder brother of 20-year-old Ravi who is fighting on the frontline told Sky News: “He’s been duped, he was supposed to be a helper and they forced him into the war in Ukraine, this is cheating.

“He was made to sign a contract in Russian language which he does not understand, they said either go to jail for 10 years or fight in the war. They had no choice.”

Image:
Ravi on the frontline

Sky News put these allegations to the Russian embassy in Delhi but has received no response yet.

It is sombre at Baagh Singh’s home – his 20-year-old son Sahil is in hospital somewhere on the frontline.

“We are in a bad condition, we have all become sick and depressed thinking about him,” he said.

His elder brother Aman showed Sky News a copy of the medical report.

“The Army gave him a job of a helper but he didn’t know he will be sent to war. He is injured by a bomb dropped by a drone.

“As soon as he gets better, he will be sent back to the frontline. After that, there is no chance of him coming back.”

Image:
Sahil Singh

For Jaiveer, it is a tormenting wait for a call from his younger brother Baldev, who is on the frontlines in Luhansk.

“We have had to keep this a secret from his wife, it will be really bad for her. It’s only sadness at home. Not only us but the whole village is mourning.”

“Each time we speak he begs us to bring him back. It’s just too dangerous,” said Vikram, the elder brother of Rajendra who fighting alongside Baldev.

Image:
Baldev and Rajender

Many who sought these opportunities are from small cities and towns, where unemployment, shrinking incomes and a rural economy that is in distress have forced many to seek better prospects abroad.

Families have sold land, taken loans and borrowed money to finance these trips.

But the men have ended up deceived by agents and coerced to fight in a foreign land.

There are no exact numbers of how many Indians are stuck, but it could be dozens.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Briefing reporters, Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson of the Indian foreign ministry, said: “We are pressing very hard with the Russian authorities for early discharge of our people who are stuck there.

“We’ve also told people not to venture into the war zone or get caught into situations which are difficult. We are in regular touch with Russian authorities both here in New Delhi and also in Moscow.”

Body bags have begun to return home. Last month Hemil Mangukiya from Surat and Mohammad Asfan from Hyderabad were killed on the frontline.

Ajay plays a 90-second video of his brother Ravi who is inside a tank amid thunderous explosions.

Image:
Ravi

“There is no chance to survive this bombing. Hear the bombs exploding around me. We are stuck in the middle of this, there is no escape as drones are dropping bombs from above. Its not possible to get out,” he said in the recording.

It has been three weeks since Ajay has heard from him.

In a video message sent to Sky News from Zaporizhzhia Oblast, 19-year-old Harsh Kumar said: “We are on the frontline in Ukraine, stuck in the Russian Army.

“We have just finished a 10-day duty on the frontline and it is very dangerous. You may not even find our bodies. After two days we will be sent back. Please take us out from here. We again appeal to the Indian government to bring us out.”

Image:
Harsh Kumar’s message sent to Sky News

Back home in Karnal, his mother is ill with worry. His father Suresh said: “You cannot understand how scared we are, and what goes through our minds. Each morning and night we keep praying to God for his return.”

The families say the men have not been paid, but that is the last thing on their minds.

All they want is for them to return, and with each passing day the wait becomes more agonising.

Articles You May Like

Kansas City Chiefs player hands himself into police in connection with car crash
Mercedes updates 2025 EQS sedan with better range, new grille, and a standing star emblem
World Boxing in talks to run ’28 Olympic event
Aching Astros call up pitching prospect Arrighetti
Oracle’s Larry Ellison thinks every government will want to build a ‘sovereign’ AI cloud in the future