Kerala man conned into fighting for Russia returns home; 2 others still missing

Though Prince arrived in Delhi a few days ago from Russia, he was brought to Kerala after completing some official procedures.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 04, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedApr 04, 2024 | 7:00 AM

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan visited the families of the youths on Thursday, 21 March, 2024.

One of the three men from Kerala conned by a recruiting agent into fighting for Russia on the Ukraine war front returned home earlier this week.

The individual has been identified as Prince Sebastian, who arrived at his native place Anchuthengu in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.

Though Prince arrived in Delhi a few days ago from Russia, he was brought to Kerala after completing some official procedures.

He told reporters he didn’t know the whereabouts of Tinu and Vineeth — the two other individuals who, along with him, were conned by a recruiting agency into going to Russia and made to join the army.

He added that he was provided with 23 days of training in using weapons, and then told to fight against Ukraine.

Related: 3 Kerala men conned, trained, forced to fight in Russia

Prince’s plight

Earlier, Prince’s brother Prasanth told South First that they came to know about the trio’s misery when Prince called them from a hospital in the first week of March.

Prince was admitted to the hospital in Moscow after sustaining injuries in the war.

“That’s the first time he called, though he arrived there on 3 January. He told me that he was admitted to a hospital in Moscow as he had sustained injuries in Russia’s war against Ukraine,” said Prasanth.

The families said the “agent” — whom they identified as Alex, the alleged go-between who conned the trio — was a native of Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram and was living in Russia.

They alleged that Alex and his relative Priyan — a resident of Kazhakootam in Thiruvananthapuram — had lured the youths to Russia promising jobs in the security sector and at a packing unit with good pay packages.

Related: Discharge Indians from Russian Army, Delhi tells Moscow

Other instances

It was hardly the first time an incident like this had surfaced in recent times.

Barely a month before Prince’s plight came to light, it emerged that a YouTuber had allegedly conned a few men from Hyderabad into going to Russia, where they were made to fight against Ukraine.

In that instance, a case was registered under Sections 370 (trafficking), 374 (unlawful compulsory labour), 367 (kidnapping to subject a person to grievous hurt), 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 120B (party to criminal conspiracy), and 34 (criminal act done by several persons out of the common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)