Nepal Soldiers Join Ukraine-Russia War — On Both Sides

( – Nepali men are reportedly leaving home to fight in the Ukraine – Russia war, for both sides. The unusual situation means there is a genuine prospect of Nepalis fighting each other in a war in a faraway land with no connection to their own nation. The draw appears to be the promise of employment, regardless of the danger.

Sandip Thapaliya from Kathmandu phoned his sister in October to excitedly tell her he had joined the Russian army – he struggled to find work in his home city. His sister Shanta told him he was mad and begged him to return home, but he told her not to worry as he had signed up as a medic and was convinced he would be safe.

The Nepalese sibling’s story was recounted in a recent New York Times feature. Bhadra Sharma will receive around $750 per month from the Russian army, and he sent videos and photos to his sister in which he proudly wore Moscow’s military uniform and said he was perfectly safe. Weeks later, he told Shanta, “They’re taking us to the jungle. Call you when I’m back.” She did not hear from him again.

Nepali government officials acknowledge that its citizens are departing to fight in the Russian conflict with Ukraine and say most have left for Russia. A smaller group has joined the Foreign Legion and is fighting with Ukrainian troops. Rajendra Bajgain, a member of Nepal’s Parliament, said, “If this situation continues, Nepalis will kill each other in the Russia-Ukraine war. It’s criminal.”

The influx of Nepalese citizens to the Russian army began shortly after the war started with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. By that summer, young men from Nepal were attracted by the prospect of money and Russian citizenship.

Nepali youth have historically traveled abroad to fight for other nations and have been drafted into the British Army since as far back as 1815.

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