The Cuban authorities recently identified a trafficking network that operates from Russia in order to recruit Cubans to participate “in the war operations in Ukraine.”
This was announced this Monday by the island’s Foreign Ministry, which assured that criminal proceedings have already begun against people involved in this trafficking.
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The Ministry of the Interior stated in a statement that it “works in the neutralization and dismantling of a human trafficking network operating from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces participating in war operations in Ukraine”.
In a message on his account on the social network X, formerly Twitter, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez He assured that the Cuban government “acts with the force of the law” against these operations.
The competent authorities initiated “criminal proceedings against people involved in these activities,” the statement said.
the chancery clarified that Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine and that it will act vigorously against those who participate in any form of human trafficking from its territory for recruitment or “mercenarism” purposes for its citizens to take up arms against any country.
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This is how the human trafficking network worked
The Miami newspaper América TeVe published last Friday the testimonies of two adolescents who They were in Cuba when they were recruited under deceit by people who contacted them on Facebook to work as bricklayers on construction sites in the Ukraine alongside the Russian army.
“Please help us, try to get us out of here as quickly as possible because we are afraid,” says one of the 19-year-olds in a video posted by the newspaper on its website.
América TeVe said that the young people sent this message from a bus in which they were transferred from Ukraine with Russian soldiers to the Russian city of Ryazan.
“We can’t sleep because we don’t know if at any moment they can come in and do something to us,” said another of the young men, who also denounced having been beaten.
The cited media also presented the anonymous audio testimony of another Cuban who said he had signed a contract of this type.
This man maintained that he traveled from Cuba to Russia and that he was able to see 18 other compatriots in the same situation. A fourth person who said he signed the agreement living in Russia.
“I am one more Cuban who is here under contract with the Russian armed forces,” the man told América TeVe under anonymity.
The latter pointed out that, like other of his compatriots, he enlisted to legalize his situation in Russia and said he was satisfied with the conditions.
Reiterating its categorical rejection of any complicity in these actions, the Foreign Ministry warned that “enemies of Cuba promote distorted information that seeks to tarnish the image of the country”.
Moscow and Havana have strengthened their relations in political and diplomatic terms since last yearwhile representatives of Vladimir Putin’s government have expressed their willingness to support Cuba in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the implosion of the Soviet bloc in 1991.
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At the end of 2022, President Miguel Díaz-Canel met with Putin in Moscow and this year, delegations of businessmen and officials visited both countries.
One of these tours was carried out in June by the Cuban Minister of Defense, Álvaro López Miera, who was received by his counterpart Sergei Shoigu.
“Russia plans to jointly develop with Cuba a series of projects in the technical-military field”Shoigu told López Miera, in their conversations at the Ministry of Defense, according to what the official newspaper Granma published at the time.
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