Kathmandu [Nepal], February 7: The Communist Party of Nepal- Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Nepal’s major opposition party, has criticized the government’s inaction regarding the repatriation of Nepali nationals recruited in the Russian Army amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Former Foreign Minister and upper house member Bimala Rai Paudyal demanded swift action from the government to bring back Nepali citizens from the war-torn region.
Paudyal expressed concern over the plight of Nepali individuals recruited into the armies of Russia and Ukraine, highlighting the desperation that led them to join these forces. She emphasized that Nepali soldiers find themselves in the distressing situation of fighting against fellow Nepalis on both sides of the conflict.
Reports indicate that Russia has been actively recruiting foreign nationals into its military, offering financial incentives and citizenship prospects. This recruitment drive attracted Nepali youths, leading them to join the Russian Army.
It is estimated that hundreds of Nepali individuals have been recruited, with casualties already confirmed and many more injured during deployment along the front lines of the conflict.
Paudyal criticized the government’s lack of clarity on the exact number of Nepali recruits in Russia, despite diplomatic efforts. She urged the Foreign Ministry to take decisive steps to repatriate Nepali citizens involved in the conflict and suggested seeking assistance from the international community if necessary.
Concerned about the escalating involvement of Nepali youths in the Russian Army, the government has issued warnings against traveling to Russia for military purposes. Travelers must obtain a No Objection Letter (NOL) from the Consular Service Department, and Nepali nationals residing abroad planning visits to Russia are required to secure an NOL from their respective embassies.
The Nepal Foreign Ministry has also cautioned against illegal recruitment practices in any foreign security forces, affirming that Nepali citizens are only permitted to enlist in the British and Indian Forces under bilateral agreements.
The opposition’s demand for urgent government action underscores the pressing need to address the plight of Nepali citizens caught in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.