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Indians ‘tricked’ into fighting for Russia with promise of jobs in Dubai

Worried families seek return of relatives trapped in warzone after false promises from agent

THE TELEGRAPH

At least 20 Indian citizens are trapped on the front lines of the war in Ukraine after being tricked into travelling to Russia and then forced to join the army.

Relatives of some of those who have been sent to fight told The Telegraph that their loved ones had been lured to the United Arab Emirates by the promise of a job in Dubai, only to be transferred to Russia.

In a two-story house in Poshwan village on the Indian side of Kashmir, Raja Begum, 65, yearns for her son’s safe return.

Her son, Azad Yousuf Kumar, 31, travelled to the UAE last December after being promised a housekeeping job by an independent consultant, Faisal Khan.

The agent, who is originally from India but settled in the Middle East, regularly posts such opportunities on his YouTube channel, Baba Vlogs.

Surrounded by relatives and speaking through tears, Raja said she was seeking help in trying to bring him home.

“Faisal had arranged a visa for him to the UAE. Initially he was instructed to travel to Mumbai and from there to Chennai,” Ms Begum said.

“It’s a mystery how he ended up in Russia. For 40 days none of us could establish any contact with him,” she said, adding that her son paid Baba Vlogs around £3,000 for the job in the Middle East.

After months went by without contact, in mid-February, Ms Begum’s elder son received a call from his brother on an unknown phone number. She said the entire family was shocked to learn that he was in trouble and that he had been tricked into joining the Russian army to fight in Ukraine.

“He said that he stayed in Sharjah for 16 days and later they were told there were no jobs in the UAE. Instead, he would be taken to Russia to work in the kitchen,” Ms Begum said. “He was immediately taken to a secret military base. For two weeks he and others were taught how to use guns and throw grenades,” she said, adding that Kumar was forced to sign a contract in Russian, a language he didn’t understand.

Frontline areas

Sajad Ahmad Kumar, Begum’s elder son and Kumar’s brother, said that Baba Vlogs have trapped over a dozen men from India in a similar way. He said that none of these Indian citizens went to Russia to fight in Ukraine of their own accord.

“Russian troops are forcing them to move into frontline areas where they face Ukrainian soldiers near the Black Sea on its southern border,” Mr Sajad said.

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