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An Indian who was lured by false job opportunities joined the Russian army and died on the front line of the invasion of Ukraine

When 30-year-old Mohammed Asfan left his home in Hyderabad last November, he told his family that he would go to Russia to work as an “army helper” (false job opportunities) and earn more than he earned at a clothing store in the southern Indian city. Earnings as a salesman are many times higher.

Attracted by a YouTube video posted by a Dubai-based recruitment agency that promised a high salary and permanent residence in Russia in six months, Asfan thought he had found a way to secure his family’s future. Recruiting agencies assured him that he would not be sent to the front lines of the war against Ukraine.

But in late December, he told his family by phone from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, that he had been forced to undergo weeks of military training and was sent to the front lines.

On March 6 this week, Asfan’s family was informed that he had died.

“When he spoke to us in December, he said his passport had been taken away and he was forcibly deployed to the front lines in Ukraine. Since then, we have not received any calls or messages from him for more than two months. , Asfan’s brother Mohammed Imran told reporters in Hyderabad this week.

“A few weeks ago, another Indian youth who joined the Russian army but later managed to escape told us that Asfan had bullet wounds. Then, all of a sudden, we got this terrible news. Mohammad Imran said his brother would never have gone to Russia if he knew he would be asked to fight in the war. Recruitment agency Baba Vlogs “cheated my brother.”It is responsible for my brother’s death,” he said.

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Asfan is the second Indian citizen confirmed dead while serving in the Russian Army.

Hamil Mangukiya, 23, from the western Indian state of Gujarat,’s family confirmed that he was killed on February 21 in the war-torn Donetsk region of Ukraine. His family reported that Mangukia traveled to Russia after getting a security job, but he was sent to the front lines and forced to fight in the war.

Over the past two weeks, relatives have made appeals to the Indian government on behalf of dozens of Indian men who were deceived into fighting for the Russian Army and wanted to return home. It is estimated that they were plunged into the war against their will. As many as 100 Indians.

In December 2023, 31-year-old Aazad Yusuf Kumar traveled to Dubai from his hometown in the state of Jammu and Kashmir after being promised to go to the United Arab Emirates. He engaged in “hotel room service work.”

Kumar, a first-time father, grew up in poverty and was a manual laborer. He readily accepted the invitation of an independent “employment agency” to provide services for his newborn son. Offering a better life.

After paying an agent about $3,600, Kumar’s family said he was taken to an unknown location in Russia to do “kitchen work.” He was then forced to join other Indians for two weeks of military training.

Azad Kumar’s brother, Sajad Ahmad Kumar, told the media that after Azad was hit by a bullet during training, he was hospitalized for three weeks.

“After recovering from his injuries, he was sent to the battlefield. When I spoke to him on January 14, he said he would be sent to the front within a day or two. That day, he cried a lot on the phone. He said he wanted to resign, which he said was very risky.

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“He also asked me to do my best to help him return home from the army,” Sajjad Kumar said. “We haven’t heard from him in almost eight weeks. We are very anxious.”

The Indian government issued a statement on Friday (March 8) saying that it was aware that some Indians had been “deceived” into joining the Russian army and sent to the war front and had contacted Moscow on the matter to seek early discharge of these Indians.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal also said that “tough action has begun” against the intermediaries who recruited these people “on false pretenses and promises.”

“A case has been opened against several intermediaries for human trafficking. We once again appeal to Indian nationals not to be swayed by the intermediaries’ promises to do only supporting work for the Russian army. This is fraught with danger and risk to life,” Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal added that the families of around 20 men have sought help from the Indian government, which is doing its best to find them and bring them home.

Like several others, Aazad Kumar was lured out of India by Dubai-based agent Faisal Khan, his family said.

Faisal Khan is the spokesperson for a YouTube channel called Baba Vlogs, which has more than 305,000 subscribers. He claims in the introductory video of his channel that what he says is never “false.”

Some videos uploaded to the channel over the past few months promised jobs as waiters in Dubai and opportunities as food delivery and “military aides” in Russia, claiming that those who accepted the offers would not be asked to fight.

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Faisal Khan did not respond to the media’s request for comment.

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