The Sun (Malaysia)

Putin accused of traffickin­g Cubans to fight in Ukraine

Carribean island nation working to ‘neutralise and dismantle’ network run by criminals


Cuba has identified an alleged human traffickin­g ring aimed at recruiting its citizens to fight in Russia’s war in the Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry said on Monday a human traffickin­g operation was being run by criminals working in both the Caribbean island nation and thousands of miles away in Russia.

The Cuban government added that they were being incorporat­ed into the military forces to participat­e in war operations.

The government 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 ministry said in a statement.

It said the government had initiated criminal proceeding­s against those carrying out the traffickin­g.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said in a post on X, 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”.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow.

Russia and Havana have boosted ties recently, with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel meeting his Russian counterpar­t Vladimir Putin in Moscow at the end of last year.

In June, Cuban Defence Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera was received by his counterpar­t Sergei Shugu.

Ukraine said on Monday it had made some gains against Russian forces in the south and east as it pushes ahead with a highly scrutinise­d counteroff­ensive.

Russia last year announced a plan to boost the size of its armed forces by more than 30% to 1.5 million combat personnel, a lofty goal made harder by its heavy but yet undisclose­d casualties in the war.

In late May, a Russia newspaper in Ryazan city reported that several Cuban citizens had signed contracts with Russia’s armed forces and had been shipped to Ukraine in return for Russian citizenshi­p.

It was not immediatel­y clear if the Cuban foreign ministry statement was associated with the Ryazan report.

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