Cuba sides with Russia, demands addressing Russian demands
While the whole western world is rushing to impose sanctions on Russia, Russia’s ally, Cuba, steps in and accuses the US of “anti-Russian propaganda campaign."
Cuba on Wednesday urged the United States and NATO to respond "seriously and realistically" to Russia’s demands of "security guarantees" and demanded a diplomatic solution as tensions over Ukraine reach fever pitch.
In a statement, Havana highlighted the United States' "determination to impose the progressive expansion of NATO toward the borders of the Russian Federation" which constitutes "a threat to the national security" of its ally, Russia.
"We call on the United States and NATO to address seriously and realistically the well-founded demands for security guarantees from the Russian Federation, which has the right to defend itself," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Cuba last week hosted Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, who had previously visited Venezuela and Nicaragua, two other allies of Russia in Latin America.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia's Duma or lower house of parliament, is to visit Havana later Wednesday.
Russia has been demanding guarantees that NATO will not expand its alliance eastward.
Cuba, which has been under crippling US sanctions for six decades, said the United States "has been threatening Russia for weeks" and "manipulating the international community" with an "anti-Russian propaganda campaign."
A month ago, the leaders of Russia and Cuba held telephone talks to boost their countries' "strategic association" and coordination on the international stage.
This came after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, in an interview in December, did not rule out Moscow sending forces to allies Venezuela or Cuba if diplomacy over Ukraine failed.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has described the remarks as "bluster”.
Read more: Cuba condemns anti-Russia hysteria, opposes NATO expansion
On his part, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, during an interview, described Ukraine as a colony that is controlled by the West.
The Venezuelan President expressed full support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his decision to recognize Lugansk and Donetsk as independent republics in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine is ruled by the United States and Europe almost like a colony, Maduro pointed out.
At a regular meeting with the government, Maduro spoke of his position on the Ukraine crisis, where he stressed that Putin has always looked for diplomatic solutions regarding problems around Ukraine.
However, through violence and the use of weaponry provided by NATO, the Minsk agreements were violated by Ukraine.
"Venezuela announces its full support for President Vladimir Putin in the defense of peace in Russia, in the defense of the peace of the region," he said in a meeting with ministers broadcast on TV.
Read more: Venezuela ratifies military cooperation agreement with Russia
And Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega on Monday accused the United States and Europe of "using Ukraine to provoke Russia," which he said was merely "demanding security".