South Asia and Beyond

Nepal: Russia Is Ready To Cancel Contracts of Our Soldiers

 Nepal: Russia Is Ready To Cancel Contracts of Our Soldiers

Nepal has said that Russia has given “in-principle consent” to cancel the contracts of Nepali nationals who are engaged in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Nepal’s deputy prime minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha who is also the foreign minister said that it “agreed in principle to assist those who have joined the army to cancel their contracts”, the Republica newspaper reported.

The 65-year-old has said that the Nepali Embassy in Moscow is in touch with their counterparts in Russia.

“Photos of those held captive in Ukraine have been released. Efforts are being made to bring them back to Nepal,” Shrestha noted.

The Nepali government has already asked Moscow to share a list of its citizens to bring back from Russia and provide compensation, but there are complications in getting them from the war zone.

Shresta is quoted to have said, “Since the war between Russia and Ukraine has not stopped, bringing Nepalis back from the Russian Army is still difficult.”

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According to reports, close to 15,000 Nepali citizens have joined the Russians against Ukraine. A small number of Nepalis have also joined the Ukrainian army.

Most of the Nepali nationals have joined the army hoping for a better life, while others were duped by unscrupulous agents.  The Russians have promised at least $2,000 salary a month and a fast-tracked process to obtain a Russian passport.

Though no official figure is available, according to a network of the victims’ families over 20 Nepali nationals have been confirmed dead in the ongoing war and close to 260 are missing or out of contact.

The Russian government first expedited citizenship offers for foreigners joining the army two years ago and has since eased the criteria for recruiting as the death toll continued to rise.

The Nepal government makes it illegal to fight for foreign militaries and in January 2023 banned its citizens from travelling to Russia or Ukraine for work.