Hacked Documents Reveal Russian Military’s Plans to Recruit Cubans

The Intercept has published excerpts from documents that were stolen from an email account belonging to a Russian officer, two days after the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced its regime discovered a human trafficking ring operating in Ukraine and recruiting Cubans for service under Russian command.

Hackers are part of “Cyber Resistance”, a cyber group that is pro-Ukrainian. Cyber Resistance has claimed responsibility for the hacking of Lt. Sergey Morgachev, a Lieutenant Colonel from Ukraine, had his email account hacked in April. The Justice Department has connected Morgachev with the hacking in 2016 of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

Documents included 122 passports for men of military age and enlistment agreements in Spanish. Emails, documents, and other evidence indicate that Russians train Cuban recruits at a facility located south of Moscow in Tula.

In March, Russia claimed the Ukrainians launched a drone attack on Tula.

Hacking documents reveal more information:

The contracts promise “a one-time cash payment in the amount of 195,000 rubles,” about $2,000, for the Cubans signing on to serve in the zone of the “special military operation” (the Kremlin euphemism for the war in Ukraine) and monthly payments starting at “204,000 rubles per month,” or just over $2,000, depending on rank, along with several spousal and family benefits. So far, these types of official Russian military contracts geared toward foreign nationals have mostly been discussed in regional media reports (such as those targeting ethnic Russian men in former Soviet republics, according to the British Ministry of Defence).

One set of images taken from the documents that have been hacked shows a single passport with a hand holding up an entry card to Russia above it. The images reveal that five Cubans at least entered the country via Belarus on July 1, a Kremlin-aligned country.

The documents that were hacked did not include signed enlistment contracts for Cubans. The Facebook pages of these Cubans showed that they posted about moving to Russia and even posted photos of them in various places in Tula.

Cuban officials have denied their involvement in the conflict in Ukraine during a Monday statement.

In the statement, it was stated that “Cuba’s enemies are spreading false information in an attempt to damage Cuba’s reputation. They also portray Cuba as a collaborator in these actions. We reject this strongly.”

According to the ministry, Cuba does not play a role in the conflict that is taking place in Ukraine.

“It is acting and it will firmly act against those who within the national territory participate in any form of human trafficking for mercenaries or recruitment purposes so that Cuban citizens may raise weapons against any country.”