Putin Pushes to Renew Russia's Influence in Cuba

Military move under consideration in response to NATO 'buffer zone'
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2008 5:19 PM CDT
Russian news reports say Putin is calling for Russia to restore its influential relationship with former Cold War ally Cuba.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Aleksey Nikolskyi, Pool)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin is pushing for a renewal of Russia’s former presence in Cuba, the AP reports. “We should restore our position in Cuba and other countries,” the president-turned-PM said after a briefing by diplomats returned from Cuba. Though a military presence on the island wasn’t specifically mentioned, one analyst says it’s entirely possible.

An ex-defense official positioned the effort as a balancing move. “It is not a secret that the West is creating a 'buffer zone' around Russia, involving countries in central Europe, the Caucasus, the Baltic states and Ukraine,” he told an official news agency. “In response, we may expand our military presence abroad, including in Cuba.”