Russia-Ukraine war news: Cubans targeted by Russian trafficking ring


Ukraine had the highest death toll from cluster munitions of any country last year, according to a report by the Cluster Munition Coalition. Nearly 300 people were killed and 600 wounded by cluster bombs in Ukraine in 2022, according to the report, which said that nearly all of the victims were civilians and many were children. The United States this year began supplying Ukraine with the widely banned weapons, which Russia has used extensively during its invasion.

A Russia-based human trafficking ring is targeting Cubans to fight on behalf of the Kremlin in Ukraine, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said, exposing a rare tiff between the historical allies. The ministry added that it has begun criminal proceedings against those involved.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Cuba is working to “neutralize and dismantle” the trafficking ring that it said was targeting Cubans in Russia and their homeland. The allegation followed a report by Telemundo about two young Cubans who said they were sent to a Russian military unit in Ukraine after accepting construction jobs in Russia. Cuban law prohibits its citizens from working as mercenaries abroad.

Arms negotiations between Moscow and Pyongyang are “actively advancing,” according to Adrienne Watson, a U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman. Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to meet in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The Kremlin declined to comment Tuesday on the possible arms negotiations, which could bolster Russia’s arsenal in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday voted to officially dismiss Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, the state news agency Ukrinform reported. The vote formalizes the resignation of Reznikov, who took the role in November 2021 but stepped down this week after President Volodymyr Zelensky announced plans to replace him as the ministry grapples with accusations of corruption.

Britain will declare Russia’s Wagner mercenary group a terrorist organization, British media reported. The U.K. Home Office said it would make the designation because of “the nature and scale of the organisation’s activities as well as the threat they pose to British nationals abroad,” according to the Guardian. A parliamentary draft order was expected on Wednesday, which would make it illegal in the United Kingdom to become a member of the Wagner Group or otherwise support it.

Kyiv was targeted by missiles overnight but air defenses successfully intercepted the attacks, according to Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration. A Washington Post reporter in Kyiv heard explosions overhead as the capital was under an air alert for about two hours.

Ukrainian forces are advancing in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, which cited geolocated footage that appeared to show the advancements northwest and west of the village of Robotyne. This would indicate that Ukrainian forces have advanced into territory that Russia previously claimed it controlled, the Washington-based think tank said.

Zelensky finished a two-day tour of the Donbas and Zaporizhzhia regions, he said Tuesday in his nightly address. The Ukrainian president said he visited with battalion commanders and 13 combat brigades in the eastern regions, where most of the fighting has occurred.

Many classes are now online in Kharkiv, but a voluntary initiative in the city has created an opportunity for parents who want their children to learn in a physical classroom, while offering hardened shelter from the bombs.

David L. Stern contributed to this report.


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