After living and working in Russia for the last decade, Tajik construction worker Zoir Kurbanov recently decided it was time to head home.

Life for many Central Asian migrants in Russia after it invaded Ukraine was not the same: Wages were falling and men faced a danger of being sent by Moscow to the front.

Then, Kurbanov got an offer for jobs on building sites in Mariupol and Donetsk — cities in occupied Ukraine. "I refused," the 39-year-old said.