Cuba announced it has identified a human trafficking ring that is forcing its citizens to fight for Russia in Ukraine.
What exactly have they said?
There are currently few details but on Monday, the country’s foreign ministry said it was working to dismantle a “trafficking network that operates from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces involved in military operations in Ukraine.”
The Cuban government had initiated criminal proceedings against those carrying out the trafficking, it added.
Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the government was “acting with the full force of the law” against trafficking operations.
“Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said, adding it would take action against anyone “who participates in any form of human trafficking for the purpose of recruitment or mercenarism for Cuban citizens to use arms against any country.”
#Cuba enfrenta operaciones de trata de personas con fines de reclutamiento militar. Se actúa con la fuerza de la ley contra esas pretensiones.— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) September 5, 2023
📄Declaración de @CubaMINREX: https://t.co/D0EQIOJ912 pic.twitter.com/aNiw3Co8mq
Who’s behind the trafficking ring?
That’s currently unclear but there’s clearly one main beneficiary to such an operation – Russia.
Earlier this year, a Russian newspaper in Ryazan city claimed several Cuban citizens had signed contracts with Russia’s armed forces and had then been taken to fight in Ukraine in return for Russian citizenship.
Has Russia commented?
At the time of writing, no.
Aren’t Cuba and Russia allies?
Moscow and Havana have boosted ties recently, with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow at the end of last year.
In June, Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera was received by his counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
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