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India Says Around 20 Citizens 'Stuck' in Russian Army

A Russian soldier in the partially occupied Donetsk region. Dmitry Yagodkin / TASS

India said Thursday it was working to secure the release of around 20 of its citizens who are "stuck" in the Russian army.

Several Indian recruits told AFP this month that they had been lured into joining the Russian military by promises of high salaries and Russian citizenship.

"It is our understanding that 20-odd people are stuck," Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal told reporters in New Delhi.

"We are trying our best for early discharge. We are in regular touch with Russian authorities both here in Delhi and in Moscow."

The ministry confirmed last week that an unspecified number of Indian nationals had signed up for "support jobs" in the Russian army.

It said several had already been discharged as a result of its interventions with Russian authorities.

Neither India nor Mosocow have explicitly confirmed whether the Indian nationals recruited by the Russian military were deployed to fight on the front lines in Ukraine.

Jaiswal said India's Foreign Ministry had "told people not to venture into the war zone."

The soldiers who spoke with AFP this month said they had been promised non-combatant roles but were trained to use Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons before being sent to Ukraine.

India is a longstanding ally of Russia and has shied away from explicit condemnation of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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