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Friday, September 22, 2023

Cuban Authorities Uncover Human Trafficking Network Linked to Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Cuba is a strong ally of Russia, but it made it clear in a statement that it is "not part of the conflict in Ukraine"

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

CUBA: The Cuban foreign ministry has revealed the discovery of a human trafficking network that allegedly aims to recruit Cubans to fight for Russia in its conflict in Ukraine.

It said that some Cubans had even left Cuba and were residing in Russia, where they had been “incorporated into the military forces taking part in the war in Ukraine.”

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Cuba is a strong ally of Russia, but it made it clear in a statement that it is “not part of the conflict in Ukraine.”

As of now, there has been no official response from Russia. The Cuban foreign ministry did not identify the responsible parties behind this operation.

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Last August, President Vladimir Putin issued a directive to bolster the Russian military’s manpower due to significant losses incurred by their combat forces in Ukraine.

According to a report from the Russian newspaper Ryazan Gazette, individuals of Cuban origin residing in Russia had enlisted in Russian military units deployed in Ukraine with the expectation of being granted Russian citizenship in return.

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Additionally, there have been videos circulating that purport to depict Serbian volunteers undergoing training with the intention of joining Russian forces in Ukraine.

Although it’s uncertain whether the Cuban foreign ministry statement is connected to the Ryazan Gazette reports, it says that “Cuba has a firm and clear historical position against the use of mercenaries”.

“We will act decisively against those who… engage in human trafficking with the aim of recruiting Cuban citizens to bear arms in any country,” reads the statement.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez released a statement on X, previously known as Twitter, adding that Cuba was utilising “the force of the law” to thwart efforts to enlist its citizens.

This statement strikes an unusually discordant note in the recent developments in Cuban-Russian relations, which have seen the two nations forge closer trading relations.

Slightly over two months ago, Cuban and Russian defence ministers conducted discussions in Moscow, while the Russian foreign minister visited the Communist-governed island in April as part of a tour among Russia’s Latin American partners.

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