In response to the recent deaths of six Nepali citizens serving in the Russian army, Nepali authorities have apprehended 12 individuals suspected of involvement in an illegal operation coercing unemployed youths to join the Russian military campaign in Ukraine on Wednesday.
The detainees are accused of extorting significant amounts—up to $9000—from victims, falsely promising travel visas. Subsequently, these individuals were allegedly coerced into illegal recruitment within the Russian army. The accused facilitated the recruitment process by directing individuals to Russia through deceptive “visit (tourist) visas,” primarily via the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier this week, Nepal urged Russia to cease recruiting its citizens into the armed forces and repatriate any Nepali soldiers currently serving. This plea is coupled with a demand for compensation for the families of the deceased Nepali citizens.
Human smuggling has become a large concern for Nepali citizens working abroad. Remittances from Nepali citizens working abroad constitute nearly a quarter of Nepal’s GDP. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has seen Russia actively seeking additional forces globally, utilizing various sources such as a recent mobilization drive and recruitment efforts by the Wagner mercenary group across Asia.