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Nepal urges Russia to send back Nepali Citizens enlisted to fight in Ukraine including the bodies of those killed

Nepal urges Russia to send back Nepali Citizens enlisted to fight in Ukraine including the bodies of those killed

Nepal has urged Russia to send back Nepali Citizens enlisted to fight in Ukraine including the bodies of those killed, Nepal’s chief diplomat stated on Thursday.

According to Nepal’s Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud, the Russian military is estimated to have enlisted over 200 Nepali nationals for service in Ukraine, with at least 14 reported fatalities. In an interview with The Associated Press, Saud emphasized the urgency of stopping further recruitment, bringing back those already in service, repatriating the deceased, and providing care for the wounded.

Nepal is also pursuing financial compensation from Russia for the families of those who died in the conflict. Of the 14 confirmed deaths among Nepali nationals, Russia claims possession of 12 bodies. Most Nepali citizens prefer traditional cremation rituals for their deceased relatives.

Saud shared information indicating that five Nepali citizens, who fought on behalf of the Russians, are reportedly held captive by Ukraine. Nepal is urging Russian authorities to take action for their release.

Read more: France denies Russia’s accusation of French mercenaries in Ukraine

While Russian officials have not officially addressed the recruitment of foreign nationals for military service in Ukraine, media reports suggest recruitment from countries like Cuba, in addition to Nepal.

Russia’s law on foreigners enlisting in the military

Russian law permits foreign nationals to join its army after signing contracts with the Defense Ministry. In September, Cuban authorities arrested 17 individuals connected to an alleged network recruiting Cubans to fight for Russia in Ukraine.

In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that speeds up the path to Russian citizenship for foreigners enlisting in the country’s military. This move is part of Moscow’s efforts to reinforce its troops in Ukraine, employing various methods, including migrant recruitment.

There is speculation that Ukraine may have also recruited Nepalis as soldiers, though Saud mentioned a lack of specific information on this matter.

Concerns about citizens being recruited by the Russian army led Nepal to ban travel to Russia or Ukraine for employment. Many Nepali individuals seeking work abroad are required to obtain government permits before departing the country. Those who made it to Russia are believed to have traveled through third countries, posing as tourists before reaching their destination.

Saud raised these issues with Russian officials during the Non-Aligned Movement conference in Uganda this month. He emphasized the need for Russia to comply with Nepal’s stance against its citizens’ military recruitment.

Historically, Nepali nationals served in the British army as Gurkha soldiers and later joined the Indian army after India gained independence from Britain in 1947, following a treaty signed in 1816 between Nepal and Britain.

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