01/2024 De Volkskrant

Russia is rounding up Central Asian migrants to replace the killed and wounded in Ukraine


Russia is rounding up Central Asian migrants en masse and sending them to the frontlines in Ukraine to compensate for its massive losses there.

As well as picking up migrants at mosques, markets and their workplaces, Russian authorities have also begun recruiting migrant workers straight from jail, offering them freedom in exchange for fighting in the war.

Kyrgyz national Beknazar Borugul Uulu was recruited straight from a Siberian prison by the mercenary group Wagner to fight for Russia in Bakhmut. Last summer, he won his freedom and returned to his family in Kyrgyzstan with seven medals in his bag. But just days later he was back in jail — arrested this time by Kyrgyzstan, for fighting in another country’s army. At the family home — overlooking the jagged cliffs of the Kyrgyz highlands — Borugul’s wife, pregnant with their third child, now hopes that Moscow’s influence in the former Soviet republic will help in her husband‘s case.

See the full story at De Volkskrant