Indian youth volunteers to join Ukraine forces fight against Russia       


A young Indian man of 21 years who tried enlisting for the Indian Army twice and got rejected for his height, has now joined Ukraine’s Georgian National Legion paramilitary unit to fight against Russia.

Sainikhesh Ravichandran, who hails from a small town near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu was approached by intelligence sleuths to get more information about him, and they submitted a report describing his family background, conduct and the probable reason for his decision to take up arms for Ukraine.

A police officer who was part of the team that gathered information about him said they found portraits of soldiers plastered across a wall in his room.

Sainikhesh told reports that he once approached the US consulate in Chennai, seeking to know if he stood a chance of joining the American army. On realizing he couldn’t, Sainikhesh enrolled for a course at National Aerospace University in Kharkiv in September 2018. He stayed at the university hostel.

His family told the police that Sainikhesh was “normal” all these years and keenly pursuing his studies. His five-year course ends in July.

A month ago, Sainikhesh called his family and told them that he had found part-time employment in a video game development company. “When the war broke out, he was incommunicado for four days. That’s when we saw a media report about a Tamil Nadu youth joining the Ukrainian forces and we were shocked,” the family friend said.

The family sent an email to the Indian embassy in Ukraine, inquiring about Sainikhesh. There was initially no reply. After a couple of days, the embassy contacted the family and sought Sainikhesh’s details.

Much to their relief, Sainikhesh contacted them and assured them that he was safe. He expressed his desire to continue in the paramilitary force. Multiple attempts by his family members to convince him failed.

“We are in a terrible situation now. Please do not ask about my son,” said his father Ravichandran, 52. His mother Jhansi Lakshmi, 48, is a homemaker and his younger brother Sairohit, 17, is a Class XII student.

The family plans to meet officials in the state and Union governments to help bring their son back.