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Russia Approves $43 Million Loan To Cuba’s Military

MOSCOW — Russia has approved a $43.27 million loan for Cuba’s defense sector, a senior Russian defense official was quoted as saying today.

The deal was first announced in November after Russian President Vladimir Putin met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Moscow.

It has now been finalized by Russia, Dmitry Shugayev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said in an interview published in Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.

Kommersant had previously reported Moscow planned to grant Cuba a loan to buy Russian hardware such as tanks, armored vehicles and possibly helicopters.

Communist-ruled Cuba is a close ally of Venezuela, where Moscow-backed President Nicolas Maduro is facing pressure from the opposition and Western governments to step down.

Private Russian military contractors who carry out secret missions for the state flew into Venezuela last month, Reuters reported, citing two people close to the contractors.

One of the sources said they flew there via Cuba.

In the newspaper interview, Shugayev said Russia has concerns about the Venezuelan crisis and was not considering scaling back defense cooperation with Caracas.

According to Shugayev, cooperation with Venezuela is limited to maintaining previously supplied arms and helping build military facilities.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 50 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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