Over the last year Russia has sent Cuba 1,000 minibuses, 50 locomotives, tens of thousands of tourists and a promise to upgrade the island’s power grid with a multi-million dollar improvement plan. Russian-Cuban trade has more than doubled since 2013, to an expected $500 million this year, mostly in Russian exports to Cuba. And a string of high-ranking Russian officials have visited their former ally in the Caribbean, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On Tuesday, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel lands in Moscow for meetings with officials including President Vladimir Putin, with the expectation that they will move forward on deals for more trade and cooperation. Russian-Cuban ties are far from the Cold War era of near-total Cuban dependence on the Soviet bloc, which saw this island as a forward operating base in the Americas then largely abandoned it in the 1990s. But observers of Cuban and Russian foreign policy say there is a significant warming between the former partners prompted in part by the Trump administration’s reversal of President Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba. Cuba and Russia are also heavily supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whom the U.S. has been trying to overthrow. “We did make huge mistakes in the 1990s while turning our backs on Cuba. That time is definitely over, and I’m absolutely sure that our relations deserve better attention from Russia,” said Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament. “They deserve more investments from Russia both in
Russia landed two nuclear-capable bombers in South Africa on a training mission on Wednesday, a flight apparently timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa summit designed to increase Russian influence. The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers touched down at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane on Wednesday, the South African National Defence Force said. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa. Speaking before dozens of African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin called for trade with African countries to double over the next four to five years and said Moscow had written off African debts to the tune of over $20 billion. The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin drive to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which backed leftist governments and movements across the continent throughout the Cold War. “Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We of course will provide support at the state level,” said Putin. The prize is greater political clout on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, vast mineral wealth and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons. But Russia is starting from a low base. Although it has enjoyed considerable success selling arms to African countries, Moscow lags
President Donald Trump declared success in Syria on Wednesday and created a bumper-sticker moment to illustrate his campaign promise to put a stop to American involvement in “endless wars.” But with his abrupt withdrawal from what he called “bloodstained sand,” the president ceded American influence over a huge swath of the region to rivals and may have spun the Middle East into a new season of uncertainty. In remarks at the White House, Donald Trump made the case that American administrations before him wasted too much money and blood on sectarian and tribal fighting in which the U.S. had no place meddling. “We have spent $8 trillion on wars in the Middle East, never really wanting to win those wars,” Donald Trump said. “But after all that money was spent, and all those lives lost, the young men and women, gravely wounded so many, the Middle East is less safe, less stable and less secure than before these conflicts began.” But analysts and lawmakers said Trump declared victory for a crisis along the border of Turkey and Syria that was arguably of his own making, while underplaying the reality that he has strengthened the hand of Russia. Critics also say the move will roll back advances made by U.S.-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The president also still has work to do to repair the political damage he’s done within his own base among those who say he abandoned the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies who fought
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov took aim at the West on Friday, saying its philosophies are out of step with the times and that it is struggling to accept what he called its diminishing dominance in world affairs. In his speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Sergei Lavrov blamed the countries that declared themselves winners of the Cold War between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union for the current challenges facing the world, and for the increasing fragmentation of the international community. He pointedly scorned much of the “West,” a term Russian officials typically use to refer to the United States and its traditional allies in Europe. He accused them of manipulating their citizens, disseminating false information, and preventing journalists from doing their work — all charges that the West has long lobbed at the Russian government and its predecessor, the Soviet Union. “It is hard for the West to accept seeing its centuries-long dominance in world affairs diminishing,” Sergei Lavrov said. “Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others.” The relationship between Russia and the U.S. has been deteriorating for years. The two countries are at odds on many issues internationally, from Iran’s nuclear program to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea to the war in Syria. Relations frayed even further amid U.S. allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. At
The anti-aircraft missile regiment located in Syria is armed with the most advanced anti-aircraft systems, the Pantsir-S-1 and Tor-M2, which can easily cope with terrorist air attacks. And the famous S-400s are capable of destroying ballistic targets. Therefore, the sky above the Khmeimim airbase and the material support center in Tartus is reliably protected. ?