Cuba to deepen relations with Russia as tensions in Ukraine rise
Russia and Cuba will deepen their relations and explore collaboration in transport, energy, industry and banking, the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced on Friday following a visit by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri. Borisov. In a statement, Cuba’s communist-led government expressed support for Russia amid rising tensions in Ukraine and accused its longtime rival, the United States and its allies, of targeting Moscow with what it called a “propaganda war” and sanctions.
Cuba “reiterates its position against the unilateral and unjust sanctions imposed by the West on the Eurasian country and against the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization towards Russian borders”.
Borisov earlier this week visited Nicaragua and Venezuela, Russia’s main allies in Latin America, and said Russia would also deepen bilateral relations with the two countries. His tour follows visits to Moscow by Latin American leaders – including Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro – for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting some analysts to suggest Russia is courting the region as tensions mount over Ukraine.
Putin launched drills by strategic nuclear missile forces on Saturday, as Washington said Russian troops massed near the Ukrainian border were “on the verge of strike”. Cuba and Russia have a long history of deep economic and military collaboration since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, though in recent decades those ties have faded.
Borisov, who met with Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, said in Cuba’s statement that Russia stepped up humanitarian aid to Cuba between December 2021 and January 2022. He also noted previous shipments of medical supplies to the island amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Russia said in December that escalating tensions over Ukraine could lead to a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis as the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war. This 1962 crisis was triggered by the stationing of Soviet nuclear missiles on the island and prompted the United States, only 145 km away, to impose a naval blockade on Cuba.