A Russia is recruiting struggling Cubans to fight in Ukraine, according to a Reuters investigation released this Saturday.
According to the agency, the recruits it identified received proposals, on social media, through a contact identified as “Dayana”, described as a mystery woman who handles the entire process. This recruitment began in May, weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the ‘green light’ to a decree that allowed foreigners who signed a contract with the armed forces to receive Russian citizenship, along with their families.
“It’s difficult to live here. Everyone said: ‘If I choose this, I won’t die of hunger in Cuba'”, said Yoan Viondi, 23, who ended up regretting it and not continuing the process, after several days of exchanging messages with “Dayana”.
“But they knew where they were going. I also knew very well where I was going,” he added.
A man, identified as Gonzalez, spoke via video call with the agency, from a Russian military base, on the outskirts of the city of Tula. Gonzalez said he was one of 119 Cubans training at that base and that he had signed a contract, translated into Spanish.
“Everyone here knew what they were coming for, I’m sure of that (…) They came for war,” he said. The man explained that the more than 199 Cubans were being trained to fight on the battlefield, but they did not yet know where they would be sent.
According to Reuters, last month, the government in Havana, an ally of Moscow but which said it was “not part of the war”, said it had detained 17 people linked to a human trafficking network that attracted Cubans to fight for Russia.
In reaction, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oleg Nikolenko, said that the Ukrainian embassy in Havana contacted the Cuban authorities on the issue.
It should be noted that the military offensive launched on February 24, 2022 by Russia in Ukraine caused, according to the most recent UN data, the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).
The Russian invasion, justified by the Russian president with the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by most of the international community.
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