More than 500 Indians have applied to join the “international legion” created to fight Russian forces in Ukraine, with at least one Indian having already joined the war effort on the side of Kyiv, according to a report.
The Indian who has joined forces with Ukrainians on the ground is from Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported, quoting sources in the security establishment. He was studying in Kharkiv, the newspaper said.
Also see: Full coverage of the war in Ukraine
On Monday The Kyiv Independent shared a photo on Twitter of volunteers from the US, the UK, Sweden, Lithuania, Mexico and India. It was not clear if the student was in the picture.
At least 20,000 foreigners have already registered with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ‘International Legion of Territorial Defense’, according the country’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba.
Fightforua.org contains the necessary information for foreign citizens who wish to join the league.
However, merely applying does not mean a candidate will be accepted; there is a long process based on certain criteria, including domestic legislation of respective countries.
The Russian defence ministry has warned that foreign fighters in Ukraine will not be afforded the rights given to lawful combatants according to international humanitarian law.
“I wish to make an official statement that none of the mercenaries the West is sending to Ukraine to fight for the nationalist regime in Kyiv can be considered as combatants in accordance with international humanitarian law or enjoy the status of prisoners of war,” the ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said last Thursday, according to Russian state media outlet TASS. “At best, they can expect to be prosecuted as criminals. We are urging all foreign citizens who may have plans to go and fight for Kyiv’s nationalist regime to think a dozen times before getting on the way.”
Volunteering to fight for a foreign nation is punishable under Chapter VI, Section 121-130 of the Indian Penal Code (offences against the state).
Under the section ‘Committing depredation on territories of power at peace with the Government of India’, it says: “Whoever commits depredation, or makes preparation to commit depredation, on the territories of any Power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine and to forfeiture of any property used or intended to be used in committing such depredation, or acquired by such depredation.”