The Cuban regime on Monday condemned the existence of a network of “Human smuggling from Russia” hiring Cuban citizens as mercenaries for Russia in the war in Ukraine.
The complaint was filed by the Foreign Ministry with a statement reporting that the Interior Ministry had discovered the existence of the network, which was operating out of Russia attract Cubans living there and also “some from Cuba itself”.
Havana has clearly distanced itself from Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and recalls in the statement that “Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine.” Also condemns the use of mercenaries on the battlefield and recalls that Cuba has taken “a firm and clear historical position” against this practice.
The Cuban government has warned that it will clamp down “vigorously” on anyone who tries to induce Cuban citizens to take up arms against a country. the foreign minister, Bruno RodriguezHe emphasized on the social network X that these claims are being countered “with the force of the law”.
At press time, the Kremlin had not commented on the Cuban complaint.
Information published in the Russian press back in May revealed that citizens Cubans had signed up as mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and in return received financial compensation and a promise of Russian citizenship.
True to the informative opacity that characterizes it, The Cuban regime did not provide any further details about who makes up the alleged network or how it works, but the rare denunciation of the statement and His firm tone reflects an unusual detachment from Russia’s positiona power that has been one of the main supporters of the Cuban regime on the international scene for decades.
Although Havana chose to abstain on the vote on the Ukraine conflict at the United Nations, the friendship with Moscow is long-standing and the Cuban President, Miguel Diaz-CanelHe blamed the US and NATO for the provocation. He also announced Cuba’s “unconditional support” for Putin’s fight against the West.
The news of these attempts to bolster Russian forces in Ukraine comes at a sensitive time for Putin’s war effort in Ukraine. This week, the White House National Security Advisor, John KirbyHe said the Pentagon recognizes that the counteroffensive launched by Kiev earlier in the summer is beginning to make “remarkable progress” and doubts are growing about the implications of the suspected August 23 death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner paramilitary group , may have been, who has so far played a leading role in the Russian operation in Ukraine.
Putin has tried various ways to strengthen his troops on the Ukrainian front. First, decreed the forced recruitment of young RussiansHe later turned to Prigozhin, who stocked his mercenary army with criminals in Russian prisons who were granted their freedom in exchange for a few months of arms service in Ukraine. Some of them were later accused of committing crimes such as murder or rape after returning to Russia.
The Arabic broadcaster Aljazeera reported that Russia had also tried to lure Syrian mercenaries to the Ukrainian front. Similar offers had also been received by immigrants from Central Asian republics residing in Russia.
US defense officials also this week leaked an alleged rapprochement by Putin with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to trick his country into supplying arms to Russia. Both would plan a summit in Vladivostok, in Russia’s far east, to discuss possible military cooperation arrangements, although analysts warn that prior disclosure could ruin the appointment. John Everarda former British ambassador to Pyongyang told the BBC Kim Jong Un He’s “completely paranoid about his personal safety,” so he’s likely to decline attending a previously announced meeting.
Moscow is interested in counteracting Ukraine’s progress in armaments. Last July, the Russian Defense Minister stated Sergei Shoigu, visited North Korea, the first visit by a foreign dignitary to the sealed-off country, and toured a weapons exhibition where he could see the latest missiles developed by Pyongyang. The acquisition could serve to stop the drone attacks that have been carried out on Russian territory in recent months and to counteract the effects of the aircraft’s entry into force F-16 fighter US-made aircraft were delivered to Kiev by Denmark and the Netherlands with Washington’s approval.
This is how the mercenary recruitment network works
The Moscow Times newspaper has released more details on how they recruited Cubans from Russia.
For example, in a Facebook group called “Cubans in Moscow,” most of the messages announcing the offer of military service in Russia were created by Elena Shuvalova.
Shuvalova writes that Cuban citizens can sign one-year contracts with the Russian army, which offer a monthly income of 204,000 rubles (about 1,900 euros). A conscript can also obtain Russian citizenship for himself and his family.
The news reports that someone with an expired or lost passport can also register – all they have to do is provide a photo and an immigration letter.
Shuvalova confirmed to the Moscow Times that she can help foreigners in Russia, including undocumented immigrants, sign contracts with the army and that she helped Cubans travel to the front lines.