Nepali recruit in Russian Army reveals direct deployment to warzone, estimates over 500 Nepali deaths

Published On: February 3, 2024 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 3: A Nepali youth, who escaped from the Russian army and returned home before his deployment to the warzone, revealed that Nepalis recruited in the Russian army were taken directly to the warzone in Ukraine and that the death toll of Nepalis stands at around 500 which is in stark contrast to the claim made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that about a dozen Nepalis have been killed in the Russia-Ukraine war.

Speaking at a press conference in Kathmandu on Friday, Suman Rai, who hails from Khotang, disclosed that upon joining the army, Nepali recruits were immediately deployed to the battlefield, leaving their chances of survival to near zero. He said that there is a practice of the Russian army to deploy Nepali soldiers in the frontline of conflict zones, putting their lives at great risk.

According to Rai, the language barrier poses a significant problem for Nepali soldiers, leading to fatalities when they are taken to exposed areas in Ukraine, where they struggle to comprehend the Russian language.

He stated, "Nepalis are sent directly to the battle field, facing a bleak chance of survival. There is no margin for survival; it's zero percent. We are positioned in the open field and Ukrainians target us easily. Many Nepalis have lost their lives, and despite not being publicly disclosed, the death toll of Nepali nationals stands around 400 to 500."

The families and relatives of Nepali nationals, who were recruited in the Russian army, have urged the government to initiate their repatriation as soon as possible. He said that the Nepali nationals, who were recruited into the Russian army, are in serious trouble. 

Stating that their relatives and family members were enticed by financial gain to go to Russia, they urged the government to take responsibility to bring them back to their homeland.

Nepal has no policy of sending its nationals to the Russian army.  The foreign ministry also urged Nepalis not to get recruited in the military service of the war-ravaged nations for the sake of making fast money.

Nepal has already communicated with the Russian authorities through diplomatic channels to not recruit Nepali youths in its army and also provide the details of those already enlisted in the Russian army. Yet, the Russian side has reportedly not responded to Nepal's request and it appears that it is continuing to recruit Nepali nationals in its army. 

Russia creates 520,000 new defence jobs

Meanwhile, Russia has created more than half a million new jobs in its defence sector to meet soaring demand on the battlefield, AFP quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying.

According to the French news agency, the Kremlin has thrown massive resources at its full-scale assault on Ukraine, with the defence sector accounting for much of the sanction-hit economy's growth.

Putin reportedly said that it is necessary to react quickly and adequately in order to be successful on the battlefield.

After months of combat that has failed to yield major territorial gains for either Russia or Ukraine, Moscow is throwing more manpower into the conflict and ramping up arms production, AFP further reported.

Last year, Russia unveiled plans for a massive 68-percent hike in spending on the military -- more than outlays for education, environmental protection and healthcare spending combined. According to AFP, the spending increase has fuelled demand in Russia's economy, drawing workers away from labor-starved civilian industries and pushing up inflation.

“Unemployment has fallen to a record low and several non-defence sectors have reported a chronic shortage of workers since Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine almost two years ago.”


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