Indian National Employed By Russian Army Dies In Donetsk Air Strike, Many Others Stranded

New Delhi: A 23-year-old man from Surat in Gujarat was allegedly killed in a drone attack in Donetsk near the border of Russia, according to reports.


The man, identified as Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, was enlisted by the Russian Army in December 2023. Earlier this month, an agent, acting on behalf of his father, had reached out to the Indian consulate in Moscow, requesting assistance in repatriating Mangukiya. Several Indians engaged with the Russian Army on contractual terms are reaching out to the Indian Embassy for assistance in returning home.

Sameer Ahmed, a resident of Karnataka’s Kalaburagi, told The Hindu, “We saw a drone hovering above us. I was digging a trench and Hemil was practising how to fire, around 150 metres away. Suddenly we heard some noise. I and two other Indians, along with other Russian soldiers, hid in the trench. The missiles struck and the earth shook. After some time when we got out, I found Hemil dead. I was the one who put his body in the truck.”

Ahmed also informed the publication that their appeals for assistance from the Indian Embassy had thus far gone unanswered. “In all, there were four Indians including Hemil who were part of the group that came under attack on February 21. Hemil was very close to the Russian military commander and they trusted him. They did not make him do menial work. The air strike happened when the trench was being dug up.

A Nepalese was also among those killed,” another Indian worker was quoted as saying.

Another Indian, Mohammad Sufiyan, hailing from Hyderabad, is also among the numerous youths purportedly deceived by certain agents and compelled to participate in combat for Russia in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

“My brother was taken by Baba Blocks Company, which has offices in Dubai, Delhi, and Mumbai. The first batch went out on November 12, 2023. A total of 21 youths were sent and Rs 3 lakh was taken from each one of them. They were made to sign an agreement in Russia on November 13,” news agency ANI quoted Sufiyan’s brother Imran as saying.

Imran further explained that the agents had promised the youths positions as army aides but ultimately conscripted them into the military and stationed them within Ukrainian borders. Highlighting the lack of assistance or substantial support provided to them, he implored the External Affairs Ministry to aid in securing the release of the trapped youths.

Previously, MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal acknowledged that the ministry was cognizant of the fact that certain Indians were enlisted by agents who subsequently deceived them into assuming combat roles in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

“We are aware that a few Indian nationals have signed up for support jobs with the Russian army.

The Indian Embassy has regularly taken up this matter with the relevant Russian authorities for their early discharge. We urge all Indian nationals to exercise due caution and stay away from this conflict,” said an MEA spokesperson in an official statement.

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