Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Cuban Recruits Attracted to Russian Army for High Wages and Passport Offers

Russia lures Cubans (Credits: The Kyiv Independent)

A BBC investigation has uncovered evidence that Russia has been recruiting Cuban nationals to fight in its army in Ukraine. In September and October 2023, a pro-Ukrainian platform called InformNapalm leaked passport details of over 200 Cubans who allegedly joined the Russian military.

Further research revealed that 31 individuals had Facebook accounts indicating they were in Russia or linked to the Russian army. Some had posted photos of themselves in Russian military uniforms or locations with Russian street signs or number plates.

Russia’s recruitment of foreign fighters is likely a response to its heavy losses in Ukraine, with estimates suggesting nearly 500,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded. Recruiting foreigners helped the Kremlin avoid the forced mobilization of Russians, which led to hundreds of thousands fleeing the country in 2022.

From Cuba to War (Credits: The Star)

Cubans are attractive recruits due to their country’s economic crisis and the lure of lucrative army contracts offering monthly payments of around $2,000, a huge sum compared to Cuba’s average monthly salary of under $25. The promise of Russian citizenship may also entice Cubans, as a Russian passport allows visa-free travel to 117 destinations, compared to 61 for Cuban passport holders.

The ease of travel between Cuba and Russia also facilitates recruitment. Cubans do not need a visa to travel to Russia; direct flights to Moscow make the trip easier. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Moscow has taken steps to make it easier for foreigners to obtain Russian citizenship after serving in the army.

Gonzalez Suggests Deployment to Already Occupied Areas of Eastern Ukraine

A local media outlet in Ryazan, near Moscow, confirmed that Cubans are joining the Russian army. The Cubans wanted to “help our country achieve the objectives of the special military operation,” it reported, adding that “some of them would like to become Russian citizens in the future.”

However, finding a reliable estimate of the number of Cubans who have joined the Russian ranks is difficult. Ukraine’s diplomatic envoy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ruslan Spirin, put the number at 400 in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. One Cuban officer in Russia, Lázaro Gonzalez, told an exiled anti-government radio station that 90 Cubans were serving under his command.

Gonzalez said they would likely be deployed to already occupied parts of eastern Ukraine rather than frontline positions. “As the Russian army occupies areas in Ukraine, what we Cubans do is support the army in those cities and in those areas that are occupied, that’s all,” Mr. Gonzalez told the Miami-based radio station.

Numerous reports suggest Cubans have often joined the Russian army after coming into contact with recruiters on social media, but that not all of them appeared aware of the real nature of the job on offer.

Russia-Based Recruiters Lure Cubans (Credits: The Moscow Times)

A popular Cuban YouTube content creator told a story last year of two 19-year-olds from Cuba who claimed they had been offered construction jobs in Russia but were instead sent to the front line in Ukraine.

Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla Affirms Havana’s Opposition to Cuban Citizens’ Involvement in Conflicts

Their case reflects the experiences of other foreigners who told the BBC they were lured to Russia by the promise of higher salaries – only to end up on the battlefield. For their part, Cuban authorities have issued conflicting statements on their citizens’ involvement in the Ukraine war.

Following a flurry of reporting in September 2023 about Cubans fighting in Ukraine, authorities in Havana said they had arrested 17 people involved in their recruitment.

However, soon afterward, Cuba’s ambassador to Russia, Julio Antonio Garmendía Peña, said his government had nothing against Cubans who wanted to “simply sign a contract and legally take part in this operation alongside the Russian army.”

Hours later, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said Havana was against “the participation of Cuban citizens in conflicts of any sort.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities have said they have seen an increase in the number of foreign fighters joining Russian forces in recent months, as well as foreigners among the soldiers the Ukrainian army has captured on the battlefield.

Russia Recruits Soldiers From Cuba (Credits: The Wall Street Journal)

Petro Yatsenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s agency for prisoners of war, told the BBC many of them came from low-income countries such as Cuba, India, and Nepal, as well as African and Central Asian states. “Every week, we capture up to five persons from foreign countries on the frontline as prisoners of war,” he said.

He added that their skills as fighters were low, which meant their life expectancy on the battlefield was not even days but hours. The use of foreign fighters is a sensitive topic for Russia, which has previously denied recruiting mercenaries or foreign fighters to bolster its forces in Ukraine.

However, the BBC has spoken to numerous foreigners who claim they were lured to Russia by the promise of higher salaries – only to end up on the battlefield. The issue has also been raised by human rights groups, who say many of these foreign fighters may be unaware of the true nature of their deployment or the risks they face on the battlefield.

Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

We’re dedicated to providing you the most authenticated news. We’re working to turn our passion for the political industry into a booming online news portal.

You May Also Like


Actress Emma D’Arcy is from the British rebellion. She has only appeared in a small number of movies and TV shows. It might be...


Jennifer Coolidge Is Pregnant: Jennifer Coolidge Audrey Coolidge is a comedian and actress from the United States. Many of her followers are wondering if...


Spoilers! The demon Akaza from Kimetsu no Yaiba dies in the eleventh arc of the manga and the one responsible for his death is...


The young YouTube star Emily Canham has recently been seen making headlines for her amazing work and her journey. She started from scratch and...