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Gujarat youth in Russian army killed on Ukraine front

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SURAT: Atul Mangukiya, an uncle of Hemil Ashwinbhai Mangukiya, who was killed on the

Ukraine front

, said the family didn’t know of his death in an

air strike

until two days later. “On Feb 23, my brother Ashwinbhai received a call from Hemil’s friend, who was working with him.”
The family didn’t believe the news. “We cross-checked it with other sources. Sadly, the information was true,” Atul said as the family organised a prayer session on Monday for Hemil in the Varachha neighbourhood where he grew up.
Hemil, who didn’t study beyond Class 12, moved to Velanja village in Kamrej taluka of Surat with his parents and 21-year-old brother a few years ago.

Atul said the younger of the siblings was currently studying in UK.

“Hemil, too, always aspired to go abroad,” he said. “He left India for Russia on Dec 14 via Chennai. He would call his family regularly.”
Hemil’s last call to his family lasted over two hours. “He insisted that he was doing well there. It is hard to believe that just hours after the phone call, he was killed,” Atul said.
The young man learned of the

Russian army

looking for “helpers” on social media. Based on a recruitment agent’s directions, he reached that country and took up a job that apparently paid handsomely. “Hemil’s first salary of Rs 2.3 lakh hit his bank account a few days ago,” his uncle said.
Hemil’s family intends to request the govt to contact the Russian authorities for clarity on the circumstances of his death.
A police officer said Hemil went to Russia on a normal visa. “We have started an inquiry into how he reached Russia and started working there. The family is unable to talk immediately; hence we are waiting.”

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