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Havana Reveals Network Recruiting Cubans to Fight for Russia in Ukraine

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The Cuban government announced on Monday the discovery of a human trafficking network that aimed to recruit Cubans to join Russia in the Ukraine conflict. The Cuban Foreign Ministry condemned the mercenaries and denied any Cuban involvement in the Ukraine war. Moscow, a close ally of Havana, has not responded to the allegations.

The Foreign Ministry revealed, “The Interior Ministry has uncovered and is dismantling a human trafficking network that operated from Russia, recruiting Cuban citizens residing there, and even some in Cuba, to participate in Ukraine’s military operations. Such attempts have been thwarted, leading to criminal proceedings against those involved.” Havana used the term “military operation,” consistent with Moscow’s language, to describe Russia’s war in Ukraine that began last February.

Recently, a 19-year-old Cuban man, originally contracted for construction work in Ukraine, found himself enlisted near Russia’s Ryazan. He and another Cuban peer released a video pleading for help, citing torture and fear for their lives while traveling with Russian soldiers on a bus, as reported by America TeVe’s server.

Reuters also noted Russian media reports from May, suggesting that Cubans were heading to Ukraine voluntarily in exchange for the promise of Russian citizenship.

Russia had announced plans to expand its armed forces by over 30%, reaching 1.5 million combat troops, a challenging task due to heavy casualties in Ukraine, rarely reported by Moscow.

Diplomatic ties between Moscow and Havana have strengthened in recent times, with high-level meetings and delegations exchanged. Cuba, facing its worst economic crisis in decades, received Russian wheat donations in February, signaling deepening ties between the long-standing allies.



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