Russia ‘assessing’ military base in Cuba as US leaves INF treaty
Proposals for such a response are being prepared, despite political obstacles
A senior Russian official and former military officer said on Tuesday that an “assessment” of establishing a military base in Cuba was under way in Moscow.
The comments from Vladimir Shamanov, who currently is head of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, were in response to the US administration’s decision to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“Now the active phase of impact assessment [of establishing a base in Cuba] is under way, and proposals will be prepared with estimates,” Shamanov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying on Tuesday.
“I do not exclude the possibility that this issue will be touched upon at the upcoming meeting with the Cuban leader in Moscow,” he added.
Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, traveled to Moscow on Thursday to discuss the countries’ strategic relationship.
Shamanov acknowledged the political obstacles to having a base in the country, which is just 145 kilometers off the coast of the US state of Florida.
“In order to strengthen our military presence in Cuba, we need at least the consent of the Cuban government. After all, this question is more political than military, and today, it’s probably premature to talk about any specific measures in response to a possible US withdrawal from [INF].”
He added: “We know that politics is a living matter, and Cuba has its own interests. Cuba itself suffers from sanctions from America.”