Went to Russia as tourist, but was forced to enter battlefield: Punjab youth : The Tribune India

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Went to Russia as tourist, but was forced to enter battlefield: Punjab youth

Recruited to take on Ukraine: Hoshiarpur youth

Went to Russia as tourist, but was forced to enter battlefield: Punjab youth

A video grab of Punjabi youths stuck in Russia. Tribune Photo



Sanjiv Kumar Bakshi

Hoshiarpur, March 6

Gurpreet Singh, a youth from Harta village in Hoshiarpur, is stuck in Russia. He had gone on tourist visa to celebrate New Year there. 

He has been recruited into the Russian army which threatened him with 10 years in jail for visa violation. After only 15 days of “training”, he along with other youths is set to be sent to fight for Russia in the Ukraine war.

Gurpreet’s brother Amrit told The Tribune that Gurpreet was keen to travel abroad. On December 27, 2023, he left home to go to Russia. There were some other Indian youths with him in Russia. 

Gurpreet told his family over the phone that someone told them they could also go to Belarus from there. But they were not aware that to go to Belarus, they needed a separate visa.

They hired a taxi and went to Belarus. On reaching there, the taxi driver started demanding more money. When they refused, he left them on the highway and fled. As they didn’t have a visa, the police caught them and handed them over to the Russian police.

The police threatened them that for violating visa norms, they would have to go to jail for 10 years. To evade jail term, they would have to sign an agreement to join the Russian army for one year under which they would be given small jobs like helper, cook or driver and would not be sent to the battlefield. 

They signed the agreement and were taken to the army training centre near Moscow. There, Gurpreet came to know that he had been recruited into the army to fight. After 15 days of nominal training there, they were sent to a camp and were told that they would be sent to Ukraine to fight in a day or two.

“We spoke with Gurpreet three days ago. At that time, he was in a training camp and told us that they would be sent to fight in a day or two. After that, we haven’t had any contact with him,” said Amrit. He said they had appealed to the government to help Gurpreet return to India by taking up the matter with the Russian Government.

#Hoshiarpur #Russia #Ukraine


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