Officials in Cuba said they have arrested 17 people in a Russian human trafficking scheme that tricked young men on the island into fighting for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
Cesar Rodriguez, Cuba’s criminal investigation department lead, announced the arrests Thursday on the state-run news channel Canal Caribe.
Rodriguez said that one of the people arrested was responsible for organizing efforts to recruit inside Cuba. He did not name any of the individuals arrested or their contacts in Russia.
Rodriguez said the recruiters were targeting Cubans interested in military activity, focusing on those with criminal records who had exhibited “antisocial behavior.”
The Cuban foreign ministry earlier in the week condemned the trafficking operation between allies where Russia used contacts on the island nation to recruit young Cubans to fight. Moscow has been desperate for more bodies in the war.