Russia broadly agrees to release all Indians working as support staff to Russian military

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Moscow: Russia has broadly heeded to India's call to end the recruitment of Indians as support staff to the Russian military and ensure repatriation of those still working in the force, top sources said on Tuesday.

It is learnt that Moscow agreed to release the Indians after the issue was brought up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an informal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday night.

Modi on Monday began a two-day high-profile visit to Russia for the 22nd India-Russia annual summit with President Putin, his first trip since the start of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the issue of Indian nationals serving with the Russian Army remains a matter of “utmost concern” and demanded action from Moscow over it.

An announcement on Russia's decision to discharge all the Indians working as support staff to the Russian Army is expected to be made after summit talks between Modi and Putin on Tuesday.

Russia has broadly agreed to our request on the issue, the sources said.

On June 11, India said two Indian nationals, who were recruited by the Russian Army, had been killed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which took the number of such deaths to four.

Following the deaths of two Indians, the MEA demanded a “verified stop” to further recruitment of Indian nationals by the Russian Army.

In a strongly-worded statement, it said India demanded that there be a “verified stop to any further recruitment of Indian nationals by the Russian Army” and that such activities would not be in “consonance with our partnership.”

Earlier in March, 30-year-old Hyderabad resident Mohammed Asfan succumbed to injuries sustained while serving with the Russian troops on the frontlines with Ukraine.

In February, Hemal Ashwinbhai Mangua, a 23-year-old resident of Surat, died in a Ukrainian air strike while serving as a “security helper” in the Donetsk region.

The Russian president hosted a private dinner for the Indian prime minister at the former's residence in Novo-Ogaryovo on the outskirts of Moscow late on Monday evening.

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