Russia is struggling to recruit soldiers to maintain its occupation of Ukraine and now Cubans are signing on for cash and Russian passports to join the fight, according to myriad reports.
The Cuban immigrants are not only given Russian citizenship, but they are going to be paid in rubles what amounts to $2,433, another $2,500 from the Ryazan region, and a monthly salary of $2,545 to serve as Russian war mercenaries, the New York Post reported.
The citizenship and cash payments are a Russian alternative to making another mandatory conscription of Russia citizens forced to join the fight, according to Business Insider.
The contracts run for one year, so a Cuban immigrant will get a total of what amounts to $35,473 (U.S. dollars) and a Russian passport for them and their families to put their lives on the line for Russia against Ukraine.
Thousands of Cubans have been settling in Russia in recent years because of Russia not requiring visas, Cuba's Directorio Cubano reported.
A group of 14 Cuban men told Radio y Televisión Martí this week they were offered express Russian citizenship for joining the country's military to fight in Ukraine.
The men were photographed during the recruitment process in Ryazan, Russia, with Cuban outlets confirming their nationalities and Russian state media claiming they wanted to assist in the "special military operation."
"They signed up," historian Álvaro Alba told Radio Martí. "They are receiving money because they are contractors. They receive a portion from the army; another portion is given to them by the local authorities who also have to fulfill a plan. And they don't care if they are Indians, Cubans, Mozambicans, or Laotians.
"They sign up, and the short-term benefits are for their families there in Russia — this money they are going to be given and, also, with the possibility that in a few months, they will receive Russian nationality," he added.
One source told Cubanos por el Mundo that after an hour-long recruitment process, each Cuban received a salary of 20,400 Russian rubles and could extend their citizenship fast-track to immediate family members.
"You have to be in Russia, yes," one Cuban man who enlisted told the local outlet. "The government does not pay for tickets. It accepts those who are here with papers or without papers, whether they speak Russian or not."
Recruitment of Cuban citizens follows the signing of a decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month to fast-track the citizenship of foreigners who join the Russian Armed Forces and fight for at least a year in Ukraine.
The decision came after National Security Council spokesman John Kirby cited U.S. intelligence May 1, which claimed that Russia had lost over 100,000 casualties in just the previous five months.
Newsmax writer Luca Cacciatore contributed to this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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