A former Nepali Army soldier from Karnali Province, who has joined the mercenary group, told Nepal TV that he had found out about “opportunities in the Russian Army” while working as a security guard in Dubai.
Now enrolled in the Russian military, he found his prior training in the Nepali Army to be advantageous, as it eased his transition into the Russian forces.
“We are more than two hundred foreign comrades and three Nepali friends,” he said.
He had considered joining the French Foreign Legion, but was put off by a lengthy and challenging recruitment process.
At least 50 Gurkhas are believed to have joined the Wagner Group since the beginning of the war, with as many as 200 Nepalese citizens travelling to Russia to join its army.
A source in the Nepalese government said it did not know exactly how many Gurkhas had joined the mercenary force, but said “we have identified some of these youths and contacted their families to persuade them to return home”.
‘It should be stopped’
The Gurkhas, renowned around the world for their combat prowess, have served in the British Army since 1815. Tens of thousands of Gurkhas also serve in the Indian Army.
But last year, India replaced long-term employment with shorter contracts and eliminated pension benefits through the controversial Agnipath Scheme.
In response, Nepal temporarily suspended the recruitment process under the 1947 Tripartite Treaty involving Britain, India and Nepal.
The disruption to the established recruitment procedure has pushed Gurkha fighters towards Russia, which has also loosened its requirements for citizenship in an effort to entice volunteer fighters to join its forces in Ukraine.
Now, Nepal’s government is being urged to take action to stop its elite warriors from joining the Russian military.
“A Gurkha joining a Russian mercenary army tarnishes the pride of my nation. It should be stopped,” said Prem Singh Basnyat, a retired Nepalese Brigadier General.
“They might have been lured with good money and joined the mercenary group in disregard of the national interest,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.