| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Nepal urges Russia not to recruit its citizens into army; says six killed

 Nepal said it has asked Moscow not to recruit its citizens into the Russian army and immediately send back any Nepali soldier commissioned there back to the Himalayan nation after revealing six soldiers serving Russia’s military had been killed.

Nepali soldiers, called Gurkhas, are known for their bravery and fighting skills, and have been serving the British and Indian armies following the independence of India in 1947 under an agreement between the three countries.

The small Himalayan nation, wedged between China and India, has no such agreement with Russia, which invaded neighbouring Ukraine in February 2022 and has been engaged in a war since.

The Nepal government said in a statement that six of its nationals, who had been serving the Russian army, were killed, without providing any details.

“The government of Nepal has requested the Russian government to immediately return their bodies and pay compensation to their families,” the foreign ministry said late on Monday.

Diplomatic efforts were underway to get one Nepali citizen serving the Russian army and captured by Ukraine released, the statement added. Nepal also urged its citizens not to join the army of any war-torn country.

English daily, The Kathmandu Post, quoted Milan Raj Tuladhar, Nepal’s ambassador in Moscow, as saying that 150-200 Nepalis were working as mercenaries in the Russian army.

The Russian embassy in Kathmandu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Millions of Nepali nationals are employed in civilian work mainly as labourers in industries and construction sites in South Korea, Malaysia and the Middle East.

  • Reuters