- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Cuban Government Uncovers Human Trafficking Network for Ukrainian Conflict Involvement
In a startling revelation on Monday, the Cuban government announced the discovery of a human trafficking network that was actively recruiting Cuban citizens to participate in the ongoing Ukraine conflict alongside Russian forces. The Cuban Foreign Ministry swiftly condemned these efforts and vehemently denied any Cuban involvement in the Ukraine war. Despite these serious allegations, Moscow, a close ally of Havana, has not yet responded to the accusations, raising international concerns.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry’s official statement shed light on the matter, stating, “The Interior Ministry has uncovered and is actively dismantling a human trafficking network that was operating from within Russia. This network was focused on recruiting Cuban citizens who were residing both in Russia and some still within Cuba, with the aim of involving them in Ukraine’s military operations. Fortunately, these recruitment attempts have been thwarted, leading to criminal proceedings against those individuals involved.” Of note is Havana’s choice of the term “military operations,” aligning with Moscow’s official terminology to describe Russia’s war in Ukraine that commenced in February.
The alarming revelation comes on the heels of a distressing incident involving a 19-year-old Cuban man who was initially contracted for construction work in Ukraine but found himself inexplicably enlisted near Russia’s Ryazan region. Alongside another Cuban peer, he released a video pleading for help, recounting incidents of torture and expressing grave concerns for their safety while traveling with Russian soldiers on a bus. This incident was reported by America TeVe’s server and has drawn international attention.
Additionally, Reuters highlighted Russian media reports from May that suggested Cubans were voluntarily heading to Ukraine in exchange for the promise of Russian citizenship, raising questions about the extent of recruitment efforts and the motivations behind Cuban involvement in the conflict.
Russia’s decision to expand its armed forces by more than 30%, aiming for a total of 1.5 million combat troops, has posed a significant challenge due to the heavy casualties sustained in Ukraine. These casualties, rarely reported by Moscow, have strained the country’s military resources and necessitated such an expansion.
Diplomatic relations between Moscow and Havana have noticeably strengthened in recent times, marked by high-level meetings and delegations exchanged between the two nations. Notably, Cuba, grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades, received donations of Russian wheat in February, signifying the deepening ties between these long-standing allies. The revelation of Cuban involvement in the Ukraine conflict has added a complex layer to these diplomatic relations, sparking international concerns and prompting observers to closely monitor developments in this evolving situation.
Article by Prague Forum