According to Cuban authorities, a Russian “trafficking network” with the aim of recruiting Cuban citizens to send them to participate in “military operations in Ukraine” has been identified.
The Cuban government said Monday it had identified a Russian “trafficking network” aimed at recruiting Cubans for “military operations in Ukraine” and had initiated criminal proceedings against those involved.
Cuban authorities “are working to neutralize and dismantle a human trafficking network that operates from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces involved in operations military in Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez, assured, in a message published on X (formerly Twitter), that the Cuban government “acts with the force of the law” against these operations.
The ministry said it had initiated “criminal proceedings against those involved in these activities”, without giving details. He underlined his categorical rejection of “mercenarism”, recalling that Cuba is not participating in the war in Ukraine.
A military commitment in exchange for Russian citizenship
The America TeVe media outlet in Miami published last Friday the testimonies of two teenagers who said they had been deceived via Facebook to work as masons on construction sites in Ukraine with the Russian army.
“Help us, please, try to get us out of here as quickly as possible because we are scared,” one of the young people, aged 19, says in a video posted on the website of the media.
America TeVe specifies that the young men sent this message from a bus in which they were transported from Ukraine with Russian soldiers to Ryazan, southeast of Moscow.
“We can’t sleep” because “at any moment they could come back and do something to us,” said another young person, claiming to have been beaten.
“I’m just another Cuban who is here under contract with the Russian armed forces,” another man told this media outlet on condition of anonymity, saying he was committed to legalizing his status in Russia.
According to the BBC, a Russian newspaper, Ryazan Gazette, has since reported that Cubans living in Russia have joined Russian combat forces fighting in Ukraine in exchange for a promise to receive Russian citizenship.
Since 2022, Moscow and Havana have strengthened their diplomatic relations. At the end of last year, President Miguel Diaz-Canel notably met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, while delegations of businessmen and political representatives visited the two countries this year.
Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera was notably received in June by his counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
Source: BFM TV