Live Ukraine: Russian citizenship and high wages lure Cubans into the Russian army – BBC

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12:37

Russian citizenship and high wages lure Cubans into the Russian army – BBC

Hundreds of Cubans have reported to Russia to fight in the war against Ukraine, the BBC reports. They are lured with a Russian passport and a monthly salary that far exceeds the average wage in their own country.

It has been known for some time that Russia is recruiting soldiers abroad for the war in Ukraine. It does this in Nepal and Syria, among others de Volkskrant reported earlier. The foreign soldiers must fill the gaps left by the battle in the ranks. According to some estimates, between 50 and 150 thousand Russians have already died in Ukraine.

The BBC tracked down Cubans whose names are in a database that a pro-Ukrainian research platform managed to get hold of. InformNapalm obtained the passport details of more than 200 Cuban recruits in September and October last year. They were in a computer of a recruitment officer in Tula, a city 200 kilometers south of Moscow.

Based on the photos in their passports, the BBC was able to find the Facebook profiles of 31 Cubans, who photographed themselves in Russia, or in places with Russian street signs, or in a Russian military uniform.

Fighting in Ukraine is lucrative for Cubans: according to the BBC, they can earn a salary of up to 2,000 dollars (around 1,900 euros) per month. In Cuba, the average monthly salary is $25. The Russian passport then allows them access to 117 countries without a visa, while ordinary Cubans can travel to only 61 destinations.

Peter van Ammelrooy

Cubans do not only voluntarily serve in the Russian army. Some are also victims of devious human trafficking, writes Maarten Albers.

11:37

Damage to Ukrainian power supplies due to Russian attacks continues to increase

The large-scale Russian drone and missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy supply have already caused more than 1 billion dollars (930 million euros) in damage. This is what the Ukrainian Minister of Energy, German Galushchenko, says.

Russian forces have been targeting Ukrainian thermal and hydroelectric power stations and main grids almost every day since March 22. This repeatedly leads to long-term power outages in many regions. The attacks halt production in factories, but also undermine the morale of the population.

‘Today we are talking about losses of more than a billion dollars. But the attacks continue and it is clear that the costs will increase,” Galushchenko said. It is mainly the damage to the thermal and hydroelectric power stations that is in the papers.

According to the minister, the power supply is stable, but the situation can change at any time. The battered energy sector is currently benefiting from the nice weather. Wind turbines and solar panels provide more power.

Peter van Ammelrooy

The Russian attacks on the energy supply are also causing costs to the Ukrainians because they have to significantly increase electricity imports, write Pepijn de Lange and Daan de Vries.

Workers at a thermal power plant at an unspecified location survey the damage after a Russian attack last week. Image AP

9:40 PM, Yesterday

Russia puts Ukrainian president on list of wanted criminals

Russian authorities have put Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on the list of wanted criminals. It is not clear what Zelensky is suspected of. The investigation report speaks of an ‘article of criminal law’, Russian media report.

Moscow previously put the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kalla, on the wanted list. She is accused of the ‘desecration of historical monuments’. Estonians have dismantled Russian statues in recent years. In February, Russian investigative journalists revealed that a database of wanted people contained almost 100 thousand names.

Russia has been trying to get Zelensky since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022. In the first days of the invasion, the Russian army tried as quickly as possible to take the capital Kiev and arrest the legally elected government. That ‘blitzkrieg’ came to nothing.

Zelensky says he knows of at least “five to six attempts” that the Russians have made since then to assassinate him, including when the president visited troops at the front.

The 46-year-old former actor and TV comedian was elected head of state in 2019, with almost three-quarters of the votes.

Peter van Ammelrooy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky greets British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Kiev. The Briton visited the country on Friday and promised billions in support ‘as long as the Ukrainians still have it’. Image ANP/EPA

Read this 2019 profile of Volodymyr Zelensky, when he was running for the highest office.

11:38, Yesterday

Russia reports new missile attack on Crimea with American Atacms missiles

Russia says it has thwarted a missile attack on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine fired four American Atacms missiles, but air defenses shot down the missiles. That claim cannot be independently verified. Ukrainian authorities did not respond to the message.

Ukraine has only had the long-range version of the Atacms, which have a range of 300 kilometers, for a few months now. For a long time, the US government refused to supply these missiles because it feared provoking Russia. After Russia deployed North Korean missiles around the turn of the year, the White House changed tack. It is not known how many long-range missiles the US has supplied to Ukraine.

Last week there were reports that Ukraine had used the new missiles in the fight against the Russians. Russian war bloggers reported that fifteen to thirty Atacms missiles were fired in Crimea. U.S. officials confirmed that Kyiv deployed the Atacms but did not elaborate on specific attacks.

Pepin the Tall

11:00, Yesterday

With these three offensives, Russia is trying to gain complete control of the Donetsk region

The Ukrainian army, plagued by shortages of ammunition and manpower, is under heavy pressure on the eastern front. What progress has Russia made in recent months and what is its strategic importance? A look at the three main sources of fire.

Read the analysis by reporters Pepijn de Lange and Daan de Vries here.

Ukrainian soldiers in a collective prayer before entering the trenches, April 4.Image Roman Pilipey / AFP

11:00 PM, the day before yesterday

Welcome to the live blog of Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May

This was the most important news about the war in Ukraine on Friday, May 3:

• The Kremlin has reacted angrily to statements by British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. Announcing a €3.5 billion military aid package for Ukraine, Cameron said Ukraine “has the right” to use these weapons in attacks on Russian territory.

Russian activist Angel Nikolaev has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison for protests against the war in Ukraine.

Read Friday’s entire live blog here.

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