Nepal Foreign Minister, Narayan Prasad Saud, raised alarm over the well-being of Nepali nationals allegedly serving in the Russian army amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. In an interview with the state news agency, Saud stated that an estimated 200 Nepalis may be currently enlisted in the Russian army, emphasizing that this figure might be conservative, and the actual number remains uncertain.
Saud disclosed that the government has received distressing reports, with approximately 100 Nepali individuals reportedly missing or injured during the conflict. He highlighted the challenges in determining the precise number of Nepalis serving in the Russian army, citing a lack of comprehensive data.
According to Saud, the Nepal government has expressed its concerns to the Russian authorities regarding the involvement of Nepali nationals in the conflict. The Russian government acknowledged that some Nepali citizens had joined its army, confirming the unfortunate death of seven individuals. Additionally, the Foreign Minister revealed that the government has initiated diplomatic efforts by summoning the Russian ambassador to address the situation and seek assistance in ensuring the safety of Nepali nationals.
Nepali government Response
In response to the crisis, the Nepali government has implemented measures to regulate travel to Russia. Travelers from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and six Gulf countries are now required to obtain a no-objection certificate before traveling to Russia, aiming to better monitor and manage Nepali citizens’ engagements in foreign military services.
The gravity of the situation extends beyond the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The Foreign Minister informed the public about ongoing efforts to secure the release of Nepali nationals reportedly under captivity by Ukrainian forces. Diplomatic channels, including negotiations with the Ukrainian government and engagement with the International Committee of the Red Cross, are being pursued to facilitate the immediate release of four Nepalis held captive.
Saud also touched upon the case of Bipin Joshi, a Nepali student held hostage by Hamas following an October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group. The government is actively working on initiatives to secure Joshi’s release, coordinating with relevant authorities and maintaining communication with the Ukrainian Embassy in New Delhi.
As the Nepali government intensifies efforts to address the complex web of challenges faced by its citizens abroad, the situation remains fluid, and further updates are anticipated in the coming days.