Cuban immigrants join Moscow’s fighting forces in Ukraine after Putin signs bill granting citizenship
Cuban immigrants living in Russia have reportedly joined Moscow’s fight in Ukraine after President Vladamir Putin signed a bill granting citizenship to anyone who enlists in the army.
“Several Cubans” were taken Wednesday to the area of the “special military operation,” which is how Russia refers to the war, after signing year-long contracts to join the army, the Ryazan Gazette, a local news outlet in the Ryazan region of central Russia, reported.
The Cubans and others who signed fighting contracts will receive a one-time payment from Russia’s federal government equivalent to $2,433 and another $2,500 from Ryzan’s regional budges, according to the local report.
They will also reportedly receive a monthly salary of $2,545.
The deployment of Cuban immigrants in Ukraine comes after an announcement last week that Belarus was considering training Cuban military personnel.
Belarus Deputy Defense Minister for International Military Cooperation Valery Revenko said that he sat down with Cuban officials, including Cuba’s military attaché in Russia and Belarus, Colonel Col. Mónica Milián Gómez.
“Most attention was given to the training of Cuban military personnel in the Republic of Belarus and the promotion of military cooperation between the two countries in a planned manner,” Revenko said in a tweet in Spanish.
The meeting took place during a military weapons exhibition, Belarus’ Ministry of Defense said in a brief statement.
It remains unclear what type of training Cuban fighters may be receiving, but Evan Ellis, a Latin American Studies research professor at the U.S. Army War College, told The Miami Herald there were numerous possibilities.
“It could be anything from cyber to intelligence to special operations training or just an ‘initial’ exchange to explore broader support,” he said. “Belarus may be doing this for Russia because Russia doesn’t have the capacity right now.”
Ellis said that Belarus could also become a “’coordinating site’ where Cubans and others can meet with Russians and possibly other actors.”