Putin sees no danger to Russia in U.S.-Cuba thaw

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin said that he evaluates the convergence of Cuba and the United States as a positive step and welcomes the diplomatic thaw between the two countries.

The Russian president made that statement Saturday (June 20) during a meeting with the heads of 12 foreign news agencies at the presidential library in St. Petersburg. The executives were there at the invitation of the 12th International Economic Forum ongoing in that city.putin &news execs6

Part of the meeting was closed to the official Russian press, so the reports that emerged from it came from participants in it who paraphrased Putin’s actual words. According to those reports,

∂ Putin said that he supported opening Cuba to the world and welcomed the rapprochement between Havana and Washington, but added that such a convergence would not lead to a decrease in Russian influence in Cuba. (That point was made by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last December. Click here for details in Progreso Weekly.)

∂ The Cuban people had suffered greatly from the economic embargo imposed by the United States since 1962, so

putin &news execs7∂ lifting the embargo would have a positive effect on the island and the rest of Latin America, a region that he described as a priority for Russia.

∂ Moscow, he said, intends to seek enhanced cooperation with the hemisphere countries. “We are for the development of the region,” one of the participants quoted him in a Tweet as saying. (For background on this subject in Progreso Weekly, click here.)

Putin declined to comment on the situation in Venezuela, saying that it is not Russia’s custom to discuss the domestic policies of other countries, which it respects.

A partial transcript of Putin’s words, in Russian, was released Saturday by the Kremlin. Click here.