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Russia Eyeing Military Base In Cuba As US Prepares To Leave Nuclear Missile Deal

A senior Russian official proposed that his country is seriously considering establishing a military base in Cuba in response to Trump’s plan to quit the INF treaty, predicting that “a new Cuban crisis” could erupt if the US and Russia fail to come to terms.

According to General Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s defense committee and a former airborne troops commander, with the US planning on walking away from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty, Russia’s response should be in the “spirit of those times”, by reactivating Russian military facilities in Cuba.

The U.S. and Russia have accused one another of violating the agreement, but President Donald Trump has announced his intention to now end it, paving the way for new nuclear and conventional weapons systems at a time of heightened tensions, Newsweek reported.

A display shows excerpts to US President John F. Kennedy’s October 22, 1962 televised address about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Photo Reuters

“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 U.S. withdrawal from INF,” Shamanov told the Interfax news agency.

“Now the active phase of assessing this scenario is underway and proposals will next be prepared with estimates,” he added.

This issue may be raised when Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, visits Russia in early November. Diaz-Canel, a fresh face of Cuba’s Communist Party, is wary of foreign military presence, but “politics is living matter,” Shamanov said, adding that “Cuba has its own interests and it was hurt by US sanctions.”

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