In neighboring Nepal, lawmakers have called on the Russian authorities to provide figures for its nationals fighting in Ukraine.

Several returned Nepali fighters who spoke with CNN earlier this year blamed Russia for using them as cannon fodder in the war.

“It’s the Nepalis and other foreign fighters that are actually fighting in the front of war zones. The Russians position themselves a few hundred meters back as support,” said Suman Tamang, after he returned from Russia.

The Nepalis who fought for Russia said they had received only brief training before being sent into combat.

Ramchandra Khadka, who returned to Nepal after suffering injuries in Ukraine, told CNN that after only two weeks of training, he was sent to the front lines in Bakhmut – a town in eastern Ukraine that saw some of the heaviest fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces – with a gun and a basic kit.

“I didn’t join the Russian military for pleasure. I didn’t have any job opportunities in Nepal. But in hindsight, it wasn’t the right decision,” Khadka said. “We didn’t realize we would be sent to the front lines that quickly and how horrible the situation would be.”

CNN’s Brad Lendon, Vedika Sud, Sugam Pokharel, Matthew Chance, Mihir Melwani, and journalist Nishant Khanal contributed reporting.