Friday, July 18, 2014

Putin backtracks on Cuba deal

Putin backtracks on Cuba deal
The Russian President has Denied his government has plans to resurrect
Cold-War Era Spy Base on Cuba
By Roland Oliphant, Moscow11:35AM BST 17 Jul 2014

Vladimir Putin has denied plans to reopen a Caribbean radar station
designed to eavesdrop on US communications systems.
Russian media earlier reported Vladimir Putin had discussed reopening
the radar base at Lourdes, south of Havana, during a visit to Cuba last
The deal was reported to be part of a deal that saw Russia cancel 90 per
cent of Cuba's £18.6 billion Soviet-era debt.
But Mr Putin denied any link between the debt-relief and reopening the
eaves-dropping centre, saying on Thursday that there are "no plans" to
reopen the base.
"There's nothing to be upset about, we are able to meet our defence
needs without this component, there's nothing unusual here, we closed
this centre in agreement with our friends, we have no plans to renew
work [there]," he said in comments carried by ITAR-TASS, a state-owned
news agency.
The Lourdes base was opened in 1967 to eavesdrop on a range of American
communications, but was closed by Mr Putin in 2001 for cost reasons.
With the conflict in Ukraine putting relations between Washington and
Moscow at their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War, reopening the
base would have been seen as a foreign policy coup at the expense of
Barack Obama's White House.
Russia has promised a "sharp and painful" response to the United
States's decision to impose sanctions on several major Russian firms as
punishment for what Washington calls the Kremlin's continued support for
separatist rebels in Ukraine.
Targets include state-controlled oil firm Rosneft, two state-owned
banks, and Kalashnikov Concern, the makers of the famous assault rifle.
The sanctions deny the companies access to US credit markets for
long-term loans and ban US citizens from buying products from some,
including Kalashnikov - although a footnote to the sanctions reassured
American gun owners that previously bought weapons would be unaffected.
Although the latest round of US sanctions fall short of so-called "level
three" measures, which would target entire sections of the Russian
economy, they go far further than previous sanctions.
Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, said
the measures would have no impact on the company's work with Exxon
Mobil, with which the Russian firm on several development projects.
But analysts suggested the measures could have an adverse impact on a
range of Western firms working in Russia, including BP, which holds a
19.75 per cent stake in Rosneft.

Source: Putin backtracks on Cuba deal - Telegraph -

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