Havana (AFP) – Cuba offered its support to Russia on Wednesday, stating that Moscow has a “right to defend itself” and that NATO must meet its demand for “security guarantees” in the midst of the conflict with Ukraine, during the president’s official visit to Havana. State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin.
Esteban Lazo, president of the Cuban National Assembly, said in a tweet from the State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly). from Russia).
During a meeting in the Cuban Parliament, Lazo and Volodin strengthened relations while expressing mutual support, in the face of US sanctions, when Moscow was punished for its actions against Ukraine.
The Cuban parliamentarian condemned the United States’ interference in Russia’s internal affairs, and considered that “NATO expansion poses a threat to the Russian Federation and the world,” according to the Duma tweet.
Upon his arrival, Volodin condemned the sanctions imposed by the United States on his country and Cuba.
“There have been sanctions against Russia for 8 years, (against) our citizens,” Volodin said via the social network Telegram, without directly referring to the measures against his country announced by the United States and other Western powers, after President Vladimir Putin’s recognition. The independence of two separatist regions of Ukraine.
a ‘serious and realistic’ response
The parliamentarian arrived in Cuba on Wednesday on a Latin American tour that includes Nicaragua.
Washington has announced a “first round” of sanctions to block Russia’s access to Western financial markets, warning that additional measures are “on the table” in the event of an escalation in the crisis with Ukraine.
Moscow, for its part, promised a “strong and painful” response.
Before his arrival, the State Department called on the United States and NATO to respond “seriously and realistically” to Russia’s demands for security guarantees, saying that Moscow had “the right to defend itself,” according to a press release.
Volodin, the second senior Russian official to visit Cuba in less than a week, condemned the more than 60-year-old US embargo on the island.
The Russian parliamentarian arrives as Cuba faces its worst economic crisis in 27 years, and amid severe food and medicine shortages due to the tightening of the US embargo and the impact of the pandemic.
– ‘Help each other’ –
“We have to develop relations and help each other. This is what today’s (Wednesday) meetings will be about,” Volodin added.
He noted that “while the (former) Soviet Union helped a lot” on the island to relieve US sanctions, but “after its collapse (in 1991), Cuba was left alone to face challenges and problems.”
The State Duma approved, on Tuesday, a project to restructure until 2027 of Cuban debt amounting to $ 2.3 billion, contracted between 2006 and 2019.
Volodin, who will be in Cuba until Thursday, visited in the morning the memorial to Soviet soldiers killed in Cuba and the Fidel Castro Center dedicated to the late Cuban leader.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov made an official tour of the island last Friday.
The visits by Russian officials follow a January phone conversation between Putin and his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel, in which the two leaders talked about strengthening the “strategic link” between Moscow and Havana.
© 2022 AFP
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