Recruitment for war likely reason for record number of Russian visas for Nepal citizens

Recruitment for war likely reason for record number of Russian visas for Nepal citizens

In 2023, Russia issued 3,037 visas to citizens of Nepal, marking an absolute record. The spike is likely related to an ongoing war recruitment campaign.

That’s according to Mediazona citing Russian MFA’s statistical data, Ukrinform reports.

The largest number of visas issued (1,756) were tourism type. Also, 660 employment visas were issued, as well as 459 education visas. The numbers have never been that high, even before the pandemic. The previous record was set in 2018, when it remained under 2,500. In 2020 and 2021, the number of Russian visas issued to Nepalese citizens did not exceed 500.

Besides, Russia issued an abnormally large number of tourist visas to citizens of Ethiopia compared to the pre-war period (1,934). Cameroonians received 1,335 educational visas last year alone, with the same number being granted 2017 through 2019.

Read also: Nepal calls on Russia to stop recruiting its citizens for war

It is likely that the rise in granted visa applications for Nepalis and persons coming from other countries may be related to the ongoing war against Ukraine. In February, CNN reported that Russia had recruited up to 15,000 Nepalese for the military campaign in Ukraine.

Prior to that, it was reported that mercenaries from Somalia, Syria, India, Cuba, China, and Serbia participated in the war on Russia’s side.

One of the Nepalese citizens recruited for war told CNN Russian commanders exploit mercenaries from other countries as "cannon fodder" and treat them brutally for refusing to engage in combat.

As reported, in January, the government of Nepal banned its citizens from going to Russia for employment purposes due to reported cases of recruitment of Nepalis for the war against Ukraine. Stricter requirements were also introduced for people traveling to the UAE as the country can be used for further transit to Russia. In December 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal called on Russian authorities to stop recruiting Nepali citizens and send home the bodies of those who died in the war with Ukraine.

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