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Russia has enlisted approximately 15,000 Nepali citizens for its military operations in Ukraine, luring them with the promise of high salaries and expedited Russian citizenship, CNN reported on Feb. 11.
Offering foreign mercenaries a monthly payment of $2,000 and a shortcut to obtaining Russian passports, Russia aims to bolster its forces.
Despite the Nepali government's acknowledgment that at least 200 of its nationals are participating alongside Russian forces, critics argue this number is grossly underestimated.
Between 14000 to 15000 Nepalis are involved in the war against Ukraine, according to Bimala Rai Paudyal, a Nepali opposition lawmaker and former foreign minister. These numbers came from individuals who had returned from the battlefield, said Bimala Rai Paudyal. Ukraine is holding at least four Nepali combatants as prisoners of war, he added.
Following the deaths of several Nepalis in the conflict, Nepal halted the issuance of work permits to Russia and Ukraine in January 2024.
On Jan. 25, Narayan Prakash Saud, Nepal's Minister of Foreign Affairs, called for Russia to provide compensation for the families of at least 14 Nepali nationals who lost their lives in the Ukrainian conflict.
In response, Nepal's Foreign Ministry has urgently called on Russia to cease its recruitment of Nepali citizens and has demanded the repatriation of the remains of six Nepali soldiers who perished in Ukraine, alongside compensation for their families, as of December 2023.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine