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Cuba says human trafficking ring forcing citizens to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Cuba has identified an alleged human trafficking ring aimed at recruiting its citizens to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine, the foreign ministry said Monday.

The government was working to dismantle a “trafficking network that operates from Russia to incorporate Cuban citizens living there, and even some from Cuba, into the military forces involved in military operations in Ukraine”, the ministry said in a statement.


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The Cuban government had initiated criminal proceedings against those carrying out the trafficking, it added.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the government was “acting with the full force of the law” against trafficking operations.

“Cuba is not part of the war in Ukraine,” the ministry said, adding it would take action against anyone “who participates in any form of human trafficking for the purpose of recruitment or mercenarism for Cuban citizens to use arms against any country”.

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow.

Moscow and Havana have boosted ties recently, with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow at the end of last year.

In June, Cuban Defense Minister Alvaro Lopez Miera was received by his counterpart Sergei Shugu.

Ukraine said on Monday it had made some gains against Russian forces in the south and east, as it pushes ahead with a highly scrutinized counteroffensive.

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