The Death of a 21-Year-Old Cuban Mercenary Fighting for Russia in Ukraine is Confirmed

Raibel Palacio Herrera, in an image shared on his social networks. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Madrid, 17 January 2024 — A 21-year-old Cuban, Raibel Palacio Herrera, a volunteer for Russia in the war in Ukraine, died last week in the city of Kherson. As reported this Tuesday by Univisión, with a source in the family itself, the young man was recruited last November by a Russian woman, who covered all the travel expenses – passport and plane ticket – in addition to offering him a monthly payment of 200,000 rubles (about $2,200).

They promised him this money, according to the American network’s report, in exchange for construction work, but, the family denounces, they actually deceived him and sent him to the front.

“What those people are doing is scamming us. We thought one thing and another turned out,” Palacio Rivera himself sent in an audio to his wife, Melissa Flores, who tells the camera: “They had told him that they were going to war, but they weren’t going to fight or anything, it was to dig trenches.”

They had told him that they were going to war, but that they were not going to fight or anything, that it was to dig trenches

The couple has two girls in common, one of them newborn, whom her father never saw. The family resides in precarious conditions in the municipality of Songo la Maya, in Santiago de Cuba.

“What I want to know is where they have my son, where they have him, because they told me that they were going to send me the body, that they were going to contact the Cuban Embassy in Russia, with the Russian Embassy here, and we don’t see anything clear,” declared the young man’s mother, Danelia Herrera.

The woman showed Univision the messages received by another young man named Gilberto Herrera Shuman last Saturday, which read: “With immense pain I must inform you that today they brought us the news that Raibel was hit by a drone resulting in his death. My deepest condolences and that of all the colleagues who are here.”

In his networks, Herrera Shuman states that he is a Cuban from Havana and lives in the city of Vysókoye, in the south of Russia.

On January 9, the youtuber Alain Paparazzi confirmed that Yansiel Morejón, a former boxer from Santa Clara, had died at the age of 26, also on the front

The case of Raibel Palacio is the first case of a Cuban dying in the war in Ukraine that has been reliably confirmed. On January 9, the YouTuber Alain Paparazzi confirmed that Yansiel Morejón, age 26, had died also on the front, a former boxer from Santa Clara.

The young man’s family did not respond to this newspaper, but another close friend did, who explained via social networks that the “official” version that Yansiel Morejón’s entourage is giving is that he died “of a heart attack,” although “he really died in the war.”

“The family has not talked about this because they do not want him to be called a mercenary,” said the same source, who insists that “the boy traveled knowing that he was going to war.” His death had occurred days ago, and although they had promised the family to have his body in 10 days, they still did not have a date to receive it.

These deaths demonstrate, once again, that the Russian Army continues to recruit volunteers on the Island to fight in invaded Ukrainian territory. Palacio Herrera’s trip, in November, occurred two months after the Cuban regime detained 17 people for belonging to a “human trafficking network,” thus trying to disassociate itself from the recruitment of nationals to fight on the Russian side in the war in Ukraine.

A group of hackers has been leaking, through the InformNapalm page, the data of more than 250 Cuban combatants in Ukraine, who supposedly received salaries exceeding $2,000 and all kinds of advantages for the soldier and his family members.


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