Cuba Discovers Human Trafficking Network for Russia-Ukraine Conflict

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The Cuban foreign ministry has exposed a human trafficking network aimed at enlisting Cubans to participate in Russia’s conflict in Ukraine. Cubans residing in Russia, and even some within Cuba, have been integrated into the military forces involved in the Ukrainian war. Despite being a staunch ally of Russia, Cuba emphasizes that it remains uninvolved in the Ukraine conflict.

Russia has yet to issue a response regarding this revelation, and the Cuban foreign ministry has not disclosed the culprits behind this operation.

In August of the previous year, President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in Russian military personnel following substantial losses in Ukraine. Subsequently, a Russian newspaper, Ryazan Gazette, reported that Cubans living in Russia had joined Russian combat units fighting in Ukraine, with the promise of obtaining Russian citizenship.

Videos have also circulated, purportedly depicting Serbian volunteers receiving training to join Russian troops in Ukraine. While the connection between the Cuban foreign ministry’s statement and the Ryazan Gazette reports remains unclear, the statement firmly asserts Cuba’s historical stance against the use of mercenaries.

The statement underscores Cuba’s commitment to taking decisive action against those who engage in human trafficking to recruit Cuban citizens for armed service abroad.

Cuba Discovers Human Trafficking Network for Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez released the statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, affirming that Cuba would employ the full force of the law to thwart attempts to enlist its citizens.

This announcement introduces an unusual discord in recent Cuban-Russian relations, which have been characterized by strengthened trade ties. Just over two months ago, the defense ministers of Cuba and Russia conducted discussions in Moscow, and the Russian foreign minister visited the Communist-run island in April as part of a tour of Russia’s Latin American allies.

Cuba has maintained a close alliance with Russia since the Cuban revolution in 1959 when Fidel Castro came to power. During the Cold War, Castro aligned with Russia, and Moscow reciprocated by providing economic, political, and military support to the Cuban government.

In 1962, a secret agreement allowed the Soviet Union to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba as a deterrent against future US attempts to invade the island. This led to one of the most perilous standoffs of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. While the Cuban missile crisis concluded peacefully following negotiations between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy, Cuba’s relations with the US have remained strained, primarily due to decades-long US sanctions against Cuba.

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