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Leaders of Russia, Cuba discuss ‘strategic association’

Putin will not hold annual year-end press conference: Kremlin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The leaders of Russia and Cuba on Monday discussed boosting their countries’ “strategic association,” days after Moscow seemed to suggest it could send forces to the island if diplomacy with Washington over Ukraine fails.

The phone call between Vladimir Putin and Miguel Diaz-Canel “focused on the continued coordination of the two countries’ activities on the international stage,” a Kremlin statement said.

This would be “consistent with the principles of strategic partnership and traditions of friendship and mutual understanding.”

Diaz-Canel said on Twitter his discussion with Putin was “cordial and fruitful.”

They exchanged views, he said, about the “future development” of already “excellent” relations as well as the “current international situation.”

On December 14, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in an interview would not rule out Moscow sending forces to allies Venezuela or Cuba if diplomacy failed with the United States over Ukraine.

“I don’t want to confirm that… nor exclude it,” said Ryabkov, leading talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, demanding guarantees that NATO will not expand its alliance eastward.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described the remarks concerning Cuba and Venezuela as “bluster” and said Russia had not raised the idea in ongoing discussions.

The United States and the then-Soviet Union are considered to have come closest to nuclear war in 1962 when Moscow deployed ballistic missiles to Cuba, setting off crisis diplomacy.

The two men also discussed trade and investment, while Diaz-Canel thanked Russia for humanitarian aid during the coronavirus pandemic on the sanctions-stricken communist island.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.




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