Fourteen of them joined the operation by individual decision in exchange for residence in Russia.
On Thursday, Cuban authorities arrested 17 people related to a network that recruited mercenaries to fight for Russia.
Three of these people belonged to the recruitment scheme within the island, while the other fourteen have confessed to having joined the operation by individual decision in exchange for residence in Russia and a substantial monetary remuneration.
The Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry announced the dismantling of the network after several media reported the presence of Cuban mercenaries fighting on the Russian side in the Ukrainian conflict.
Based on confessions from those arrested and wiretapping, Cuban authorities determined that the network's recruiters were looking for individuals with criminal records and from dysfunctional families.
On Ukraine, @NATO's rhetoric and reality are running in opposite directions, and the world is beginning to notice. While @jensstoltenberg says Ukraine is gaining ground, this is a bloody war of attrition. If we care about people in Ukraine, we must look for paths to peace. pic.twitter.com/uZYSZxWk20— Clare Daly (@ClareDalyMEP) September 8, 2023
Although at the moment the crimes for which the detainees are being investigated have not been revealed, the digital media Cubadebate highlighted that the new penal code establishes severe penalties for crimes related to human trafficking and mercenarism.
Jose Luis Reyes, the chief prosecutor of the Supervision Department of the Directorate of Criminal Proceedings of the Attorney General's Office, explained that "in the investigations the attributable crime will be determined for each case, in correspondence with the actions and will of those involved."
The Foreign Ministry stressed that "Cuba is not part of the war conflict in Ukraine," and that Cuba "is acting and will act vigorously" against anyone who "participates in any form of human trafficking for purposes of recruitment or mercenarism so that Cuban citizens do use of weapons against any country".