Cuba’s government said it’s dismantling a human trafficking network based in Russia that has recruited citizens from the communist island to work on military operations against Ukraine.
(Bloomberg) — Cuba’s government said it’s dismantling a human trafficking network based in Russia that has recruited citizens from the communist island to work on military operations against Ukraine.
In a statement Monday, the Foreign Ministry said Cubans in Russia and on the island had been targeted by traffickers for “military recruitment purposes” and that it had shut down the ring and initiated criminal proceedings.
Russia and Cuba are longtime allies, and Moscow’s role has become increasingly important on an island that’s stumbling through a deep economic crisis. The statement marks rare public friction between the two nations.
“Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said. “It is acting and will firmly act against those who, within the national territory, participate in any form of human trafficking for mercenary or recruitment purposes that lead Cuban citizens to raise weapons against any country.”
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The announcement comes after two Cuban men told YouTube influencer Alain Paparazzi Cubano last week that they and others had been recruited in Cuba and flown to Russia under the impression they would work construction jobs. Instead, they claim they were sent to dig trenches on the front line with Ukraine and were not paid what they were promised.
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
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