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Punjab Cabinet minister Kuldip Singh Dhaliwal said today that the state government is in touch with the Centre over the five young people stranded in Russia. The matter came up during the Zero Hour in the ongoing Budget session of the state assembly. Congress MLA Pargat Singh said five persons from Punjab, who went to Russia, have been forced to participate in a war with Ukraine.

“My only request is that this matter should be taken up with the Centre and they be brought back,” Mr Singh said in the House.

Mr Dhaliwal said the state government is in touch with the Centre over this issue, and “hopefully there will be a positive outcome”.

Later, in a statement, Mr Dhaliwal said he raised the issue with the External Affairs Ministry and the Russian Ambassador.

Gurpreet Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Lovepreet Singh, Narain Singh, and Gurpreet Singh, all of them Indian citizens, were stuck in Russia. They went to Russia on a visitor visa but were forcibly inducted into the Russian Military Services, he said.

Citing media reports, the minister said these men were duped by agents who promised them jobs.

The minister sought immediate intervention of the Union government in the matter. Of seven Indians stuck in Russia, five were said to be from Punjab and two from Haryana.