Cuba arrests 17 people who recruited mercenaries for Russia’s war against Ukraine

Cuban authorities have arrested 17 people linked to a network of human traffickers who recruited young men to fight in the Russian army against Ukraine. Reuters reported this.

The report says that the Cuban authorities are working to “neutralise and eliminate” the network, which, according to them, operated both on Cuban soil and in Russia.

The detained traffickers face 30 years in prison or death penalty

“As a result of the investigation, 17 people were arrested, including the internal organiser of this activity,” said Colonel Cesar Rodriguez from the Cuban Interior Ministry.

Rodriguez noted that the group leader relied on two people living on the island to recruit Cubans to the Russian army for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The colonel also stressed that the detainees face up to 30 years in prison, life imprisonment or a death penalty. This depends on the severity and type of crimes, which range from human trafficking to participation in hostilities as mercenaries.

Cuban Foreign Ministry’s statement on criminal ring which forced Cubans to join Russia’s war

On 5 September, the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced the disclosure of a human trafficking network whose members forced Cuban citizens to fight in Ukraine on the side of Russia.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised that Cuba “does not participate in the war against Ukraine” and will “act decisively against those involved in any form of human trafficking for mercenary service or recruitment to enable Cuban citizens to take up arms against any country”.

Russia, which has solid political ties with communist-run Cuba, has long been an essential destination for Cuban migrants seeking to escape economic stagnation in their country.

Lacking resources for his war in Ukraine, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing foreigners signing up for service in the Russian army to receive Russian citizenship via a quick procedure.

Ukrainian hacktivists discovered data on Cuban mercenaries

Ukrainian hacktivists of the Cyber Resistance team have obtained and handed over to the international intelligence community InformNapalm unique evidence of the Cubans being recruited, moved to Russia, and trained to participate in the war against Ukraine. 

InformNapalm published passport copies of entire units of Cuban mercenaries – 199 fighters. The investigative journalists showed the human trafficking chain. They discovered who the mercenaries were and why Russia has been seeking support from “brotherly communists” for its imperialist war in Ukraine.

Russian regime is looking for cannon fodder abroad

Western analysts once again noted that Russia wants to avoid further domestic mobilisation. Although Russia has never given much heed to human losses, a year and a half of the full-scale war is starting to take its toll on the aggressor. 

Russia has sufficient mobilisation resources, but these people have to be dragged into the invading army. This could be achieved in a new wave of mobilisation. 

However, such a move would be highly unpopular, so the Kremlin is trying to avoid it on the eve of the presidential elections planned in the Russian Federation for 2024. 

That’s why the Putin regime tries to look for cannon fodder among non-Russian citizens. Migrants and low-income individuals from the ex-Soviet states are the most logical pick. Exploiting foreign citizens allows the Kremlin to attract additional human resources for its war in the face of mounting losses in Ukraine.

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