Nepal govt’s failure to repatriate Nepalis results in their re-recruitment in Russian army

Published On: April 18, 2024 06:15 PM NPT By: Arun Bam

KATHMANDU, April 18: On March 18, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha stood at the rostrum of the House of Representatives and announced that the Russian government is ready to annul the contracts of Nepalis recruited into its army.

Foreign Minister Shrestha was responding to a query raised from a parliamentarian, stating, “The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed to assist those wishing to return home by canceling the contracts. However, the modality is yet to be decided. The Nepali Embassy in Moscow is constantly following up on this. Photographs of individuals detained in Ukraine have been released, and efforts are being made to bring them back to Nepal.”

A few days prior, Foreign Minister Shrestha had a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, during which Sergey is said to have conveyed the same message.          

While Foreign Minister Shrestha made these statements, seven Nepali individuals found themselves stranded in Ukraine after the Russian government canceled their contracts three months earlier. Feeling abandoned, some appealed to the Indian government for their rescue after their pleas to Nepali authorities went unanswered.

In another case, one of three stranded individuals stated, “We received notice of contract termination letter and were transported 10 kilometers away from Donetsk. With no contract, we received neither salary nor food provisions. We informed the embassy and pleaded for rescue. The embassy officials advised us to find a safe place, stating that they had other pressing matters to look after.”

Initially, there was a glimmer of hope among them after Foreign Minister Shrestha’s address. However, a month later, that hope turned into despair. One young man expressed, “To enter Russia from Ukrainian territory, a document to pass the border is required. We lack that document. We requested assistance from the embassy, but now they don't even answer our calls.”

After three months of waiting in vain for repatriation following the cancellation of the contract, Russia has initiated their re-recruitment into the army. “Four of us were sent back to the army this evening,” disclosed one of the three youths on Wednesday, “Yesterday, the remaining three of us were also provided uniforms.” 

They said that despite their repeated appeals, the Nepal government remained unresponsive.

Apart from them, eight Nepalis remain unable to return to Nepal even after the Russian government canceled their contracts. It is alleged that the Nepali embassy and government officials in Moscow have become irresponsible. Although they thought they were finally saved following the cancellation of their contracts, the government failed to facilitate their rescue. “The embassy does not listen to our complaints,” said the young man in Moscow, “Now it is heard that those whose contracts were canceled are being sent back to join the army. We do not know when we will be asked to join again.”

Their families in Nepal continue to suffer as their loved ones remain stranded in the Russia-Ukraine war. They plead daily for their relatives’ rescue to government agencies from the Singha Durbar to the Consular Department. “By going to Russia illegally, they made a mistake. Now, shouldn't the government take initiatives to protect the lives of its citizens? Even after their contracts were canceled, Russia did not stop re-recruiting them. Our government should take initiatives to save its citizens’ lives,” said the wife of a stranded Nepali youth whose contract was canceled, “We have reached out to the Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Consular Department, but no one listens to us. Our government fails to aid in their return.”

The wife of a young man from Kailali, whose husband was forcibly re-enlisted by Russia, is enduring even greater anguish. “After his contract was canceled, they assured his safe return. However, the Russian army showed no mercy. The Nepali Embassy provided no assistance and suddenly, two days ago, the Russian army forced him to rejoin them.”

Activist Kritu Bhandari stated that the Nepali Embassy in Moscow and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal and the Consular Department have been pressured to repatriate Nepalis whose contracts with the Russian Army were canceled. “No matter how much pressure we put, the government turned a deaf ear to our pleas and those of our family members,” she said, “Russia has started re-recruiting those whose contracts were canceled.”


Leave A Comment