Russian and Cuban leaders meet in Moscow, hail 'traditional friendship'

Russia's Vladimir Putin and Cuba's Miguel Díaz-Canel met in Moscow on Tuesday and unveiled a monument to the late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday met with his Cuban counterpart in Moscow, where the two unveiled a monument to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and hailed the “traditional friendship” between their sanctions-hit nations.

A video published on the Kremlin’s website showed Putin and the Cuban head of state, Miguel Díaz-Canel, deliver speeches as Russian military guards flanked a bronze statue of Castro.

The late Castro embraced Soviet-style communism after taking a leading role in a revolution which in 1959 drove dictator Fulgencio Batista from power. He went on to defy a crippling U.S. embargo and dozens of assassination plots during his half-century of rule on the island, before dying in 2016 at the age of 90.

Putin in a speech underscored Castro’s history of defiance, praising him for “selflessly defending the sovereignty of (his) native country” and drawing parallels with Western sanctions imposed on Russia in connection with its military campaign in Ukraine.

“The Soviet Union and Russia have always, and continue to this day, to support the Cuban people in their struggle for independence, sovereignty. We have always stood against any sorts of restrictions, embargoes, blockades and so on. We have always supported Cuba on the international stage and we see that Cuba takes the same position towards Russia,” Putin said.

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Updated: 3 days ago
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