17 Arrested in Cuba for Trafficking Men to Fight for Russia in Ukraine

Seventeen persons were arrested in Cuba for allegedly luring Cuban youth to serve in the Russian military in its war against Ukraine.

Cuban authorities said they were working to “neutralise and dismantle” this human trafficking network that was suspected to be operating both on Cuban soil and in Russia.

Cesar Rodriguez, a colonel with the Cuban interior ministry declared this on Thursday on a TV program.

Cuba says it has no part in the war in Ukraine and rejects the use of its citizens as mercenaries.

So, the arrested men can be punished with up to 30 years in prison, a life sentence, or the death penalty, depending on the severity and type of crimes, which range from human trafficking, fighting as a mercenary and hostile action against a foreign state.

Russia has strong political ties with communist-run Cuba. Russia is an important destination for Cuban migrants seeking escape from their country.

In 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing foreigners signing up for service in the Russian army to receive citizenship via a fast-track procedure.

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