Putin denies Russia to reopen Cuba spy post

2014-07-17 21:38

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin denied on Thursday Russia plans to reopen a Cold War listening post in Cuba as new US sanctions over Ukraine ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Russian broadsheet Kommersant, citing several official sources, reported on Wednesday that Moscow and Havana had agreed in principle to reopen the Lourdes spy base during Putin's visit to the Communist-run island last week.

Putin however denied that Russia was reopening the base set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis saw the United States and the Soviet Union reach the brink of nuclear confrontation.

"That is not true, we have not discussed this issue," Putin told reporters in Brasilia.

"According to an agreement with our Cuban friends we shut down our centre. We have no plans to resume its work," he said.

The Kremlin strongman spoke just hours after Washington targeted Russian companies in the finance, military and energy sectors.

The European Union also stiffened punitive measures against Russia after fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Moscow separatists intensified.

Russia closed the Lourdes spy base south of Havana on Putin's orders in 2001 to save money and due to a rapprochement with the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

But Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba as relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.

Just 250km from the US coast, Lourdes was the Soviet Union's largest overseas covert military outpost with up to 3 000 staff.

Ahead of Putin's Latin American tour, Russia wrote off 90% of Cuba's debt dating back to the Soviet era, totalling around $32bn.

Russia paid Cuba rent of $200m per year to use the base during its final few years.

Some analysts suggested that Putin could use the reopening of the Cuban post as a bargaining chip in ties with Washington.

"Potentially, that agreement is possible," Vladimir Yevseyev, head of the Public Political Studies Centre, a think tank, told AFP. "But this is a political decision."

With the reopening of the Soviet-era base Russia could intercept sensitive US information like satellite communications and radio signals from submarines and ships.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  cuba  |  us  |  russia  |  ukraine

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.