Two key advisors to Vladimir Putin have publicly urged the Russian President to re-open their Cuban base. Russia shut down the the Lourdes SIGINT Station in 2002, but advisors have called for the key military facility to be made active.

Moscow’s influence in Cuba was a major cause of concern during the Cold War, cultivating in the 1962 missile crisis.

This saw the United States force Russia into a game of chicken, with a sea-based military blockade after discovering plans to construct a missile base, which saw then US President John F Kennedy declare victory.

It is mythicised as the closest the world has come to all-out nuclear war – but with all eyes on North Korea this year the real danger could be right under America’s nose.

Cuba is located just 90 miles from Florida and a renewed Russian presence on the island would set alarm bells ringing in Washington.

The old base was partly converted into a university after it was closed by the Kremlin.

But a shock re-opening looks increasingly likely with two of Mr Putin’s allies calling for the move.

Frants Klintsevic, deputy head of the country’s senate defence and security committee, said: “Our base on Cuba, naval and aviation, should exist. It’s a key issue.”

He first brought up the issue when he said a Russian presence in Cuba is “extremely desirable”.

Mr Klintsevic said: “It should definitely be done and it should be intensified today….

“Our presence should be everywhere.

“I want much more efforts to be made in this regard than is being made now, and I will even insist on that.”

His proposal was this week echoed by Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, the committee’s chairman an Russia’s former aerospace forces commander.

Colonel General Bondarev called for old Russian bases in Vietnam to be re-opened.

He said: “I believe under the condition of increased tension in the world and frank intervention in the internal affairs of other countries, Russia’s historical partners, our return to Latin America is not ruled out.

“Of course, this should be coordinated with the Cubans.

“We should also think about our Navy’s return to Vietnam with the permission of the government.”

Relations between Cuba and the US have long been strained but began to finally warm during President Barack Obama’s administration.

During the so-called ‘Cuban thaw’, Mr Obama oversaw a relaxation in economic and social restrictions, with Cuba withdrawn from the terror sponsors list and commercial flights from America resuming after decades.

But Donald Trump’s election tlast year has seen the improving relations halted, blocking an economic agreement and removing nonessential US staff and their families from the island.

– Express

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