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Thursday, October 15, 2009      Geostrategy-Direct.com

Visit to Cuba by Russian chief of staff stirs new Cold War speculation

The visit of Russia’s top military officer to Cuba has fueled concerns that Moscow will reopen its large electronic eavesdropping station on the island at Lourdes.   

The chief of the Russian military's general staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov.    AP

Gen. Niolai Makarov, chief of the general staff, visited Cuba in late September for meetings with Cuban leader Raul Castro.

A number of agreements were reached including a decision by Russia to resume training at Russian military schools and training center for Cuban military personnel.


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Russian defense industries also will begin modernizing the Cuban military, according to press reports of the visit.

“The Soviet Union supplied a large quantity of equipment and armaments to Cuba. Many models have gone out of service and require repair and restoration. We decided what deliveries are needed," Makarov told reporters after the talks.

Additionally, the Russians and Cuba may set up new facilities for the joint production of arms and ammunition as well as repair and modernization of military aircraft and armored equipment.

Konstantin Sokolov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, told the Russian news site KM.ru that based on public statements by the Russian military after the talks it is difficult to determine if Cold War level ties are returning between the two militaries.

“Cuba could play a very important role not only from the viewpoint of Russia's defense potential in general, but in the intelligence system in particular,” Sokolov said.

“The point is that the base at Lourdes, which was closed on Russia's initiative at the beginning of the 2000s, housed radio equipment that was an extremely strong information resource for decision-making in the military-strategic sphere.




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