Cuban authorities have arrested 17 people accused of being part of a human trafficking network. The group was to lure young men to serve in the Russian army.
Cuban authorities have arrested 17 people accused of being part of a human trafficking network. The group was to lure young men to serve in the Russian army. The Kremlin is probably looking for new recruits in other countries to avoid a general mobilization a year before the elections.
"As a result of the investigation, 17 people have been arrested so far, including the internal organizer of these activities", Reuters reported, citing Colonel Cesar Rodriguez of the Ministry of Interior of Cuba.
They were arrested on charges of recruiting people to the Russian army, which needs new recruits to continue the war in Ukraine.
According to the agency, the local prosecutor said that those detained could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The case may be considered as human trafficking, creating a mercenary army or hostile action against a foreign state.
At the beginning of the week, the Cuban authorities announced that they are working to "neutralize and dismantle" the network that operates on Cuban soil in the interests of Russia. The country itself claims that it is not involved in the war and does not agree to its citizens being used to fight as mercenaries.
"The state acts and will act decisively against those who, within its territory, engage in any form of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of mercenary or recruitment, so that the citizens of Cuba take up arms against any country," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said on Monday, cited, inter alia, by the Belarusian media Belsat.
Apparently, the Russians want to convince Cubans to join the army by offering them money – up to $2,000. An additional incentive is the promise of receiving Russian citizenship on an expedited basis.