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‘Tricked’ Into Joining Russian Army, 7 Indian Tourists Seek Assistance

Seven men from Punjab and Haryana, misled into military service in Russia, seek aid after deployment to Ukraine conflict. Recruited as support staff, coerced into fighting by Russian authorities.
10:44 AM Mar 06, 2024 IST | Aniket Raj
‘tricked’ into joining russian army  7 indian tourists seek assistance
Indians In Russia

A group of seven young men from Punjab and Haryana have urgently requested assistance from Indian authorities, claiming they were misled into joining the military in Russia and have now been deployed to participate in the conflict in Ukraine.

According to reports, the seven Indian individuals have been identified as Gagandeep Singh (24), Lovepreet Singh (24), Narain Singh (22), Gurpreet Singh (21), Gurpreet Singh (23), Harsh Kumar (20), and Abhishek Kumar (21). The report specifies that five of the individuals are from Punjab, with the remaining two originating from Haryana.

In a 105-second video circulating on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the seven men can be observed donning military winter jackets or skull caps. They are situated within a dimly lit and disheveled room, with a sealed window visible at one end. Six of them are gathered in a corner, while the seventh, identified as 19-year-old Harsh from Karnal, Haryana, is recording a video message outlining their situation and appealing for assistance.

The group departed for Russia on December 27 with the intention of celebrating the New Year there. They possessed a visa for their trip to Russia, which was valid for 90 days. However, subsequent to their arrival, they traveled to neighboring Belarus.

"An agent offered to take us to Belarus... we were not aware we needed a visa. When we went to Belarus (without a visa) the agent asked us for more money and then abandoned us. The police caught us and handed us over to Russian authorities, who made us sign documents," Harsh said in the video.

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He later added that now they (Russia) are forcing them to fight in the war against Ukraine.

Harsh's family informed the news channel that he had also pursued employment opportunities abroad. Reportedly, he was advised that it would be easier to emigrate to a country of his choice if he traveled through Russia.

Harsh's brother claimed he was given weapons training and deployed to the Donetsk region.

Amrit Singh, the brother of Gurpreet Singh, who is also reportedly seen in the video, stated that the men were compelled into military service. He explained that they were coerced to join the army there because the documents they signed in Belarus were in Russian. According to Amrit Singh, the documents indicated that they had to either accept imprisonment for 10 years or join the Russian army.

Reports have indicated that as many as 100 Indian nationals were recruited as support staff by the Russian Army. Additionally, numerous reports have surfaced suggesting that dozens of these individuals were compelled to engage in combat on the border with Ukraine.

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