Cuba Says It Busted Russian Op To Recruit For War In Ukraine; Not Everyone Is Convinced
Cuba. Havana. Theatre Detail.
(Universal Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Cuba‘s government claims to have uncovered a Russian operation to enlist its citizens to fight in the war in Ukraine, but not everyone is convinced Havana is being honest.

A release from the Caribbean nation said criminal proceedings are underway in an effort to dismantle the human trafficking network for military recruiting purposes.

The announcement from the country’s Foreign Ministry said the operation targeted Cuban citizens living in Russia as well as in Cuba.

“Cuba plays no role in the war in Ukraine,” the statement said, according to NPR.

“It is acting and will act vigorously against whoever, from the national territory, participates in any form of human trafficking for the purposes of recruitment of mercenaries so that Cuban citizens use weapons against any country,” it added.

Russia’s government did not appear to immediately issue a reaction to Cuba’s statement.

But Yaroslav Trofimov, the chief foreign affairs correspondent of The Wall Street Journal, pointed out on X that a Russian news article from Ryazan said “several Cubans signed up to join the Russian armed forces in May, some of them in hopes of acquiring Russian citizenship.”

The journalist also reacted to Cuba’s announcement by calling it an “unusual step to go so public against Moscow.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), a Cuban-American, expressed skepticism about the statement during a Tuesday appearance on CNN.

“I’m a little bit cynical about it, because there’s also reports that the Cuban government actually signed some kind of deal with the Russian government to send Cuban soldiers over to Russia to fight in Ukraine,” the congressman said.

“And just like they did with — are they doing with their doctors, they’re going to pocket about 80 percent to 90 percent of the money, it’s like $2,000 a month per soldier, so that it helps the Cuban government,” Gimenez added. “And so, yea, I’m a little bit cynical about the announcement. It is the first of its kind though I have ever heard of it, but I sincerely doubt that they’re sincere.”

There have been Western intelligence and media reports in the past about how Russia has been recruiting foreigners and migrants for its war in Ukraine that has lasted now for more than a year and a half.

“Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilization measures in the run up to the 2024 Presidential elections,” the corporate news channel of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence said in a recent intelligence update.

On Monday, word got out that U.S. officials believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may soon meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for negotiations on weapons that could impact the Ukraine conflict.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that North Korea “will pay a price” if it provides arms to Russia.

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