The External Affairs Ministry on Monday said that several Indians have already been discharged from the Russian Army as a result of the government having taken up with Moscow the cases of Indian nationals seeking their release.

The ministry’s statement came amid reports that several Indians, who were hired as “army security helpers” in Russia, have instead been allegedly forced to fight alongside the Russian military in its war on Ukraine.

On Saturday, The Hindu reported that Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, a 23-year-old man from Gujarat, who was hired as an “army security helper” in Russia, was allegedly killed in a Ukrainian air strike in Donetsk, close to the Russia-Ukraine border.

An agent had sent an email to the Indian embassy in Moscow on February 2 on behalf of Mangukiya’s father, stating that his son was stuck in the war zone, according to the newspaper. The agent had sought Mangukiya’s safe return to India.

Several other workers have also approached the Indian diplomatic mission asking to be repatriated, reports suggest.

On Monday, the Indian government said that it is actively pursuing with Moscow all the “relevant cases of Indian nationals for an early discharge from the Russian Army”.

“Each and every such case brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Moscow has been strongly taken up with the Russian authorities and those brought to the attention of the ministry have been taken up with the Russian embassy in New Delhi,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The ministry also said that it had seen “some inaccurate reports in the media regarding Indians with the Russian army seeking help for discharge”. It was unclear which reports the ministry was referring to.

On February 22, the ministry urged Indians to exercise caution and “stay away from [the Russia-Ukraine] conflict”. The conflict began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Nearly 100 Indians have been recruited by the Russian military over the past year, The Hindu reported on February 20.

This was the first time that the involvement of Indians in combat roles on the Russian side had been reported. After the fighting broke out, at least 500 Indians, including some military veterans, submitted applications to volunteer with Ukraine’s International Legion, reports suggest.

Since November, around 18 Indians have been stranded in the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Rostov-on-Don along the country’s border with Russia, while one is said to have been killed in combat. They hail from Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.