Cuba Accuses ‘Human Trafficking Network’ of Recruiting Citizens for Russia’s Ukraine War

In a startling turn of events, the Cuban government has initiated criminal proceedings against what it refers to as a “human trafficking network” responsible for recruiting Cuban citizens to participate in Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, according to a statement released by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The statement, issued on Monday, revealed that Cuban authorities have taken action to dismantle this recruitment group operating on behalf of Russia. Their mission? To enlist Cuban citizens, both residing in Russia and Cuba, into the military ranks, with the aim of involving them in operations within Ukraine.

Cuba’s stance against mercenarism is resolute and unwavering, as emphasized in the statement, which categorically states that Cuba is “not part of the war in Ukraine.” However, the announcement did not disclose the identity behind the trafficking network or the extent of the individuals affected. Furthermore, the claims made by Cuba have yet to be independently verified, and Russian authorities have not provided an immediate response.

Interestingly, The Moscow Times reported the existence of a social media account attributed to Elena Shuvalova, which, for months, has been posting advertisements in a Facebook group known as “Cubans in Moscow.” These ads offered one-year contracts with the Russian Army. As of Tuesday, the group boasted nearly 76,000 members, although the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s statement did not directly reference this group.

It’s noteworthy that Cuba has been a longstanding ally of Russia, dating back to the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Recent interactions between the nations have reinforced their diplomatic ties. Cuba’s Álvaro López Miera, head of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, visited Moscow in June and was warmly received by his Russian counterpart, Sergei K. Shoigu. During the visit, Shoigu underscored the importance of Cuba as Russia’s “most important ally” in the Caribbean.

Direct flights between the two countries and a mutual visa-free regime for 90 days out of 180 have facilitated exchanges. Approximately 70,000 Russian tourists visited Cuba in the first half of 2023, while around 11,000 Cubans journeyed to Russia in 2022, according to the Russian Association of Tour Operators.

Notably, this is not the first instance of a nation alleging its citizens were recruited to fight for Russia in the Ukrainian conflict. Kazakhstan raised similar concerns when advertisements surfaced attempting to enlist individuals for involvement in the armed conflict in Ukraine. The Kazakh Constitution prohibits mercenary activities and deems participating in foreign military operations a criminal offense.

In a related development, Russian media previously reported instances of Central Asian migrants in Russia being lured to join the war, with promises of expedited Russian citizenship applications. To address such concerns, Mikhail Matveyev, a member of the Russian Parliament, proposed legislation that could lead to the loss of Russian citizenship for individuals found to have evaded military registration or mobilization.

Russia’s efforts to bolster its military ranks have been evident, with plans to expand the Russian Army and enact measures to encourage recruitment. These include making draft evasion more challenging and raising the maximum age for men required to complete military service. Despite these efforts, the recruitment challenges persist.

Also read:
Courageous Australian Rescue- Sick Expedition Member Evacuated from Remote Antarctic Outpost in Winter!

1 thought on “Cuba Accuses ‘Human Trafficking Network’ of Recruiting Citizens for Russia’s Ukraine War”

Leave a Comment