I was injured; the commander told me I could carry dead bodies

Rajendra Kumar Rai 26 Feb 2024
I was injured; the commander told me I could carry dead bodies

I reached Moscow six months ago from the UAE to join the Russian Army. I was sent there by Bikas Rai of Sombare in Morang. Rai had been working with the UAE Police for seven years. Even he had left the UAE Police to join the Russian Army. I later found that he was working as an agent to supply Nepali youths to Russia. He runs a racket of nine members. He is on the run now.

One Deepak Adhikari of Plapa took 33 of us to Russia in August. All of us paid the agent only after we landed in Moscow. I paid money to Rai’s relative in Dharan. His name is Jivan Rai.

A lot of youths based in the UAE were making a beeline to go to Russia in August and September. I was among 283 Nepalis working in the UAE who had filled out forms to go to Russia. All of us went to Moscow and joined the Russian Army. Thirty of them have died in the war, and more than 50 are injured and receiving treatment.

I was deployed in Bakhmut after a 21-day training. They only taught us how to use weapons and deployed us on the war front. There were more than 2,000 Nepalis in Bakhmut alone. Seeing such a large number of Nepalis there, I felt Russia recruited Nepalis through a government channel. I later knew that I was wrong. All of them had reached Russia like us from countries like the UAE, India, Qatar, and South Korea.

There is a sunflower oil factory 20 kilometers into Ukraine from Bakhmut. Russia had already claimed that territory when we were deployed to Bakhmut. The Ukrainian Army was on a mission to reclaim that land. Most of the Russian casualties have occurred in this area. I saw many Russian soldiers fall after Ukrainian drone and bomb attacks. In October, I saw a Russian army truck carrying about 300 bodies. Thirty Nepalis were among them.

I received five bullets

I was among some 300 soldiers deployed on the war front that day. We were devising strategies inside a large warehouse on Ukrainian soil. After about seven hours, Ukrainian drones rained on us and started bombardment. We couldn’t even raise our weapons. I received bullets and fell.

When I regained my senses, I found myself lying on the bodies of fallen Russian soldiers. I later knew I had received five bullets in my abdomen and thigh. I followed an injured Russian soldier. He removed bullets from my body, and together we fled. We boarded a truck, and after a drive of around 300 kilometers, we stopped and entered a house. The homeowners agreed to shelter us after we offered him 10,000 rubles. I got treatment for two months with the help of that Russian soldier.

Later, the Russian Police came and took us under control. Maybe someone tipped them off about us. The Russian Police took us to the war front in Bakhmut. I told the commander that I was injured and could not carry weapons. The commander told me: “You can at least carry dead bodies.”

I was deployed on the war front for the second time. I again got injured and was admitted to a military hospital. I can’t move one of my legs.

We have been housed in an isolated shelter amid vast snowfields. We have been locked from the outside. There are around 100 injured soldiers in the shelter. There is one cook to prepare our meals. There are 14 other Nepalis in this shelter; all of them have bullet injuries.

I received a salary for two months after I joined the Russian Army. I have received nothing after that. The situation of other Nepalis is the same. We all want to return to Nepal, but we don’t know how. Who would rescue us?

(As told to Ramesh Bharati of Himal Press over Facebook Messenger)

Published On: 26 Feb 2024


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *