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Indian national employed by Russian Army killed in Donetsk air strike, multiple others stranded: Report

A 23-year-old man from Gujarat, Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, has been reported dead in a Ukrainian air strike in Donetsk at the Russia-Ukraine border.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 08:48 IST

A 23-year-old man from Gujarat, Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, has been reported dead in a Ukrainian air strike in Donetsk at the Russia-Ukraine border.

According to The Hindu, Hemil, who was employed by the Russian Army as a security helper, died on February 21.

A resident of Surat district in Gujarat, Mangukiya was recruited by the Russian Army in December 2023. Earlier this month, an agent acting on behalf of his father had written to the Indian consulate in Moscow, seeking assistance in repatriating Mangukiya. According to the report, numerous Indians working with the Russian Army on contractual terms are reaching out to the Indian Embassy for help in returning home.

The publication reported that Mangukiya's father, Ashvinbhai, last spoke with his son on February 20.

Sameer Ahmed, a resident of Karnataka's Kalaburagi, told the publication, "We saw a drone hovering above us. I was digging a trench and Hemil was practising how to fire, around 150 metres away. Suddenly we heard some noise. I and two other Indians, along with other Russian soldiers, hid in the trench. The missiles struck and the earth shook. After some time when we got out, I found Hemil dead. I was the one who put his body in the truck.”

Ahmed also told the publication that the Indian Embassy had so far been unresponsive to their pleas seeking help.

“In all, there were four Indians including Hemil who were part of the group that came under attack on February 21. Hemil was very close to the Russian military commander and they trusted him. They did not make him do menial work. The air strike happened when the trench was being dug up. A Nepalese was also among those killed,” another Indian worker was quoted as saying.

Several Indians working in Russia have sought help from the Indian Embassy in Moscow, requesting assistance to return home. Mangukiya's father sent an email to the Indian consulate on February 2 through an intermediary, stating that his son was in danger and they wanted him back in India.

On Friday, the Indian government asked its citizens to refrain from participating in the war, stating that it had reached out to the Russian government for the "early discharge" of Indians employed as support workers in the Russian Army.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 08:48 IST)

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