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India on Friday said it is pressing Russia “very hard” for early discharge of the Indians serving as support staff with Russian military units. After two Indians, working in similar positions, lost their lives, India last week called on its nationals not to risk their lives by taking up such jobs.

“We are pressing very hard with the Russian authorities for early discharge of our people who are stuck there,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said at his weekly media briefing.

Mr Jaiswal also referred to his earlier comments that 20-odd Indians have approached the Indian embassy in Moscow.

He said efforts are underway to bring back the dead bodies of the two Indians.

“The paperwork of their mortal remains has been done. The funeral agency, which we have engaged, has been handed over the bodies. We are in touch with the family,” Mr Jaiswal said.

“We are also in touch with the Russian authorities. And hopefully, we will have the mortal remains in India by the end of this week,” he added.

The Indian Embassy in Moscow last week confirmed the death of Mohammed Asfan from Hyderabad, who was duped into joining Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Asfan was the second Indian to be killed after the death of Hemal Ashwinbhai Mangukiya, a 23-year-old resident of Gujarat. Mangukiya died in a Ukrainian air strike last month while serving as a security helper in the Donetsk region.

To a question on the conflict in Ukraine, Mr Jaiswal said New Delhi’s position has been consistent.

“We have been very consistent in our position on the Russia-Ukraine war. We continue to encourage a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy…We remain open to engaging all ways and means that could help achieve this objective,” he said.