Russia won’t rule out military deployment to Cuba, Venezuela

January 14, 2022

Russia won’t rule out military deployment to Cuba, Venezuela

Moscow – Russia sharply raised the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine when a top diplomat refused to rule out a military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States mounted.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Cuba and Venezuela if the talks fail and US pressure on Russia escalates.

“It all depends on the action by our US counterparts,” the minister said in an interview with Russian television network RTVI.

The Russia-US negotiations in Geneva and a subsequent NATO-Russia meeting failed to narrow the gap on Moscow’s security demands amid a buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine.

While Moscow demanded a halt to NATO expansion, Washington and its allies firmly rejected that as a nonstarter.

Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, has denied having plans to attack the neighboring country. The Kremlin reacted to the suggestion by accusing NATO of threatening its territory and demanding that the military alliance never embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations to join.

US view unchanged

Speaking to the reporters in Washington, Sullivan said that “allied unity and transatlantic solidarity were on full display and they remain on full display” during talks with Russia this week, which he described as “frank and direct”.

Sullivan suggested that Ryabkov’s statement about Cuba and Venezuela had not changed Washington’s calculations.

He noted that no further talks have been scheduled, but “we are prepared to continue with diplomacy to advance security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic.”

Asked about Ryabkov keeping the door open to basing troops and equipment in Latin America, Sullivan responded: “I am not going to respond to bluster in the public commentary.”

Putin, in seeking to curtail the West’s military activity in Eastern Europe, has urged that NATO could use Ukraine’s territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes.

Soon after his first election in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Soviet-built military surveillance facility in Cuba as he sought to improve ties with Washington.

Sea of Azov tensions

Tensions are also high on the sea of Azof – a strategic body of water between Ukraine and Russia jointly controlled by the two countries.

“Every time we go to sea… we encounter Russian ships that follow us, “said Denys Bakumov, 23, a commander with the Ukrainian navy, while taking CBC out on patrol.

“We see more activity of navy patrol ships in the sea. They are moving much more and are trying to increase their control over the Azov.”

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov rebuffed the West’s calls for a troop pullback from areas near Ukraine.

“It is hardly possible for NATO to dictate to us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territory,” he said.

He warned of a complete rupture in US-Russia relations if proposed sanctions targeting Putin and other top civilian and military leaders are adopted.

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