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Around 150 return home as Russian Army puts down shutters for Nepalis


 |  Kathmandu

(File Photo)

Almost 150 Nepali people returned home from Russian Army since the third week of May, the officials have said. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of Nepali people who returned home via the Nepali Embassy has reached 138.

Similarly, some people have already returned home bypassing the Nepali Embassy in Moscow.

According to a source at the Nepali Embassy, three Nepalis including Nawaraj Gurung of Lamjung, Dudhpokhari have come into contact with the Embassy to return home. The Embassy has arranged a shelter for them.

After receiving permission to leave the Russian Army, they are now making their way back home.

Impact of diplomatic initiatives
Russia started recruiting foreigners as soldiers into its army since September after it invaded Ukraine on February 22, 2022.

In the beginning, Nepalis who had gone to Russia to pursue their higher studies in Russia joined the army since May 2023. With the lure of attractive pay and perks, they began to join the army on their own. Lured in by this opportunity, some human traffickers took them to Moscow.

The recruitment of Nepalis into the Russian Army was officially confirmed after the killing of Sandeep Thapaliya of Gorkha by the Ukrainian attack hit the headlines.  

Nepal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in association with the Nepali Embassy in Moscow, urged Nepali citizens not to join the military of any country except those with whom Nepal has signed bilateral agreements for soldier recruitment.

The Nepal government on December 1, 2023, in a diplomatic note, urged the Russian government to stop recruiting Nepalis, provide treatment to the injured and compensation to the families of those killed while in the Russian Army.  

Nepali Ambassador to Russia, Milan Tuladhar, said that Russia is sympathetic towards the demands of Nepal. He had received these assurances from the high-level official who looks after the South Asian Affairs.

“The Deputy Chief of the Recruiting Agency of the Russian Army on May 24, 2024, called Nepali Ambassador Tuladhar and informed him that the recruitment of Nepali people has completely stopped and those already recruited are being released gradually,” an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Dozens of Nepali people have returned home since then.”

Two channels for Nepalis to return home
According to Dr. Rupak Sapkota, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister Pushpa Kama Dahal ‘Prachanda’ around 150 Nepalis have returned home so far.
“It’s been weeks since their homecoming started,” said Dr Sapkota, “They are returning home in coordination with the Nepali Embassy in Moscow.”

The Nepal government made a list of 321 Nepali citizens and urged the Russian government to send them back home from the Russian Army. Of them, 138 people have returned home while the three are making their way back home.

While the official records meticulously document the return of 138 Nepalis, the exact number is likely higher, with many coming back unofficially.

Those with passports are returning home independently, while others rely on the Embassy's assistance to navigate their return journey."

According to sources, the Russian government has started the process of providing compensation to the families of six Nepalis including Dewan Rai killed in the war against Ukraine.


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