14ymedio, Madrid, 23 October 2023 — The hackers who revealed the identities of 200 Cuban mercenaries fighting with the Russian Army in Ukraine have again leaked data. According to the available information, 59 more Cubans have signed a contract to join the Russian Armed Forces in the city of Tula. Of these, at least 11 did so after the Cuban authorities announced, on September 8, the arrest of 17 people linked to a network of human trafficking and mercenarism.
The arrival of the new recruits to sign contracts took place between August 25 and September 29. Despite this, hackers have been able to confirm that not all the Cubans came from the Island. Some already resided abroad and entered with another passport or even lived in Russia since before the invasion of Ukraine.
Cubans serve in the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Armed Forces, which, according to the hackers, is becoming, de facto, the “international legion” of the Moscow Army
In some cases, on the contrary, there are recruits who traveled directly from the Island, attracted by promises of nationality, salaries above $2,000 and all kinds of advantages for the soldiers and their families. Cubans serve in the 106th Airborne Division of the Russian Armed Forces, which, according to the hackers, is becoming, de facto, the “international legion” of the Moscow Army. There are also Serbs who have traveled from their country to support their neighbors.
According to the new information, disseminated on the InformNapalm website, there are already at least three Cubans fighting from the last group of recruits, while the rest are still in the process of formalizing contracts.
The reports that there were Cubans fighting in the Russian Army began as a rumor at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, in February 2022, but it was not confirmed until some of them, apparently deceived, began to report it to independent Cuban media located in Miami. On September 6, Cyber Resistance leaked the passports of 199 Cubans who were in Tula after having signed a contract to fight with the Russian Armed Forces, immediately forcing the recognition of the authorities that there were people detained in connection with this matter.
The Government stated that it was working to prosecute mercenarism according to its international commitments, but suspicions continue about Cuba’s possible collusion in sending Cuban combatants, especially since relations between the two countries have become increasingly strengthened.
Different organizations have described it as highly unlikely that a State like Cuba with control over its citizens has escaped the fact that there were operations underway to recruit nationals and take them to fight abroad, a crime that on the Island is punishable even by death.
InformNapalm wonders why it seems that the Cuban government has done nothing, after the announcement of the arrests, to stop this situation.
The obligation of Cuba, as a signatory country of the Hague agreement, is to “prevent the formation of mercenary groups in its territory in order to intervene in an armed conflict before which they have decided to remain neutral.” But this same international regulation does not consider States to be responsible “when individuals cross the border of their own free will to offer their services to the belligerents.”
We have nothing against Cubans who only want to sign a contract and legally participate in this operation with the Russian Army, but we oppose illegality
The Cuban authorities played with this approach in mid-September, when, since the scandal, the ambassador to Russia, Julio Antonio Garmendia Peña, told the state agency RIA Nóvosti: “We have nothing against Cubans who only want to sign a contract and legally participate in this operation with the Russian Army, but we oppose illegality and those operations that have nothing to do with the legal sphere.”
A few hours later, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez reaffirmed “the unequivocal and invariable position of the Government,” which, “in accordance with national legislation, is against the participation of Cuban citizens in any conflict, against mercenarism and against human trafficking.”
For the moment, and in the heat of other international events that have overshadowed the issue of Cuban mercenaries, nothing is known about the detainees and whether their trials have been initiated or the investigation continues.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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