Nepali soldier captured in Ukraine

A Nepali mercenary fighting with the Russian Army has been captured in the Avdiivka by Ukrainians.

A video posted on X by Anton Gerashchenko @Geraschchenko_en shows Bibek Khatri, who says he is from Bardia confessing that he joined the Russian military to make money and make his mother proud.

Nepali Times had earlier filed a story about Nepalis in the Russian Army, including an interview with one soldier named Ramesh who had deserted from the Ukrainian frontline in Bakhmut.

In a Nepali Times video interview, Ramesh said he was a health worker but unable to find a job in Nepal went to Russia where he worked in a factory but heard he could earn more by enlisting.

Nepali youth have been lured to Russia with promises of earning Rs400,000 a month to fight in the Army. But many said they had been sent to the Ukrainian border with just a week of training and were not given the money promised by recruiters. They left Nepal on Russian tourist visas.

In the video posted on Friday, Bibek Khatri says: "I wanted to return to my mother a successful man."

Gerashchenko's X bio says he is adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs and founder of the Institute of the Future. It also says he is: 'Official enemy of Russian propaganda.'

Bibek Khatri is also asked what he thinks of Vladimir Putin. His reply: "Putin seems to be like Hitler, the Russian system is not good."

It is not clear if Khatri is speaking freely, or is being told what to say. He speaks in English.

Nepalis are also on the Ukrainian side. After the Russian invasion, 4,000 Nepali students left Ukraine for Poland but some remained. A video on social media in early 2022 showed a Nepali man fighting for the Ukrainian side. Another Nepali, 63,  married to a Ukrainian woman also joined the army because his son was also conscripted to fight the Russians.

Russian army soldiers

There are also unconfirmed reports that another Nepali soldier in the Russian Army, Sandip Thapaliya, was killed in action in Ukraine in July and that his body is buried near the frontlines. He had gone to Russia on a tourist visa and was hoping to travel on to western Europe, but was attracted by the high salary offered to be a Russian soldier.

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