Report: Russia Promising Cubans ‘Express’ Citizenship if They Fight in Ukraine

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A group of at least 14 Cuban citizens reportedly signed contracts to enlist in Russia’s armed forces and fight in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the American Radio Televisión Martí reported on Thursday, claiming Russia offered the Cubans a fast track towards Russian citizenship in exchange. Radio Martí reported that the Cuban citizens were photographed during the recruitment process in the Russian region of Ryazan. Local media outlets reportedly confirmed the nationality of the Cuban conscripts. The Ryazan Gazette, a Russian outlet, reportedly claimed that the group of Cubans “want to help” Russia “perform tasks in the area of the special military operation, and some of them would like to become Russian citizens in the future.” “Special operation” is the Russian government’s term for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022 meant to oust democratically elected President Volodymyr Zelensky. Russia has maintained a separate illegitimate presence in Ukraine since its colonization of Crimea in 2014. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin signed a decree this month that creates a fast track toward Russian citizenship for foreigners who pledge to join the country’s armed forces for a period of at least one year and aid Russia in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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