Possible Russian deployment in Latam ‘bragging’: US

Moscow.- Russia escalated its dispute with the West over Ukraine and NATO expansion on Thursday after a top diplomat denied a military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela as tensions with the United States escalate.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that if the United States and its allies fail to end their military activities near Russian territory, the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America “is neither confirmed nor denied.” Can do”.

“It all depends on the actions of our American counterparts,” the deputy minister said in an interview with Russian television station RTVI, citing President Vladimir Putin’s warning that if the United States and its allies do not Moscow may take unspecified “technical military measures”. Follow their demands.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan downplayed talk of a possible Russian deployment in Cuba and Venezuela, describing the prospect as “bragging”.

In Cuba, the Russian official’s remarks were classified as a warning to the United States.

“There is no danger that this is a plan, but a warning for Americans to put themselves in the place of the Russians,” former diplomat and international policy analyst Carlos Aljugare told the Associated Press.

“Of course, this is going to have implications, as networks heat up. Obviously the question is what Cuba thinks about it, and I think it will remain silent, even as the most likely Russians have consulted the island,” said the expert, who Recall that relations between the Caribbean nation and Moscow are going at a good moment.

An AP request for comment from Cuban officials went unanswered at this time.

Ryabkov on Monday led the Russian delegation in talks with the United States. The talks in Geneva and a related Russia-NATO meeting in Brussels were held in response to an increase in Russian military activity near Ukraine that the West feared before an invasion.

Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, denies any plans to attack the neighboring country. The Kremlin responded by accusing NATO of threatening its territory and not including Ukraine or any of the other former Soviet republics in the military alliance.

This week, Washington and its allies explicitly rejected that demand, saying it was non-negotiable, but NATO and the Russian delegation moved forward on arms control and other issues aimed at reducing the likelihood of hostilities. agreed to leave the door open for talks.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sullivan said the “coalition of unity and transatlantic solidarity was exposed and will continue to be” during this week’s talks with Russia, which he described as “clear and direct”.

“We stick to our core premise of reciprocity,” Sullivan said. “We stood firm on our principles and were clear about the areas where we can progress and the areas that cannot be negotiated.”

Sullivan stressed that no additional talks were scheduled, but “we stand ready to continue diplomatic efforts to promote the security and stability of Europe and the Atlantic.”

“If Russia chooses a different path, we are equally prepared,” he said. “We remain in close coordination with our allies on tough economic measures in response to another Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Asked whether Rybakov left open the possibility of a military deployment to Latin America, Sullivan said: “I’m not going to respond to bragging in the public sphere.”

He said the issue was not raised during this week’s talks, adding that “if Russia wants to go down that path, we will deal with it decisively.”

Last month, Ryabkov compared current tensions over Ukraine to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Soviet Union sent missiles to Cuba and the United States imposed a naval blockade on the island.

The crisis ended when US President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed that Moscow would withdraw its missiles in return for Washington’s commitment not to invade Cuba and withdraw its missiles from Turkey.

In an effort to end Western military activity in Eastern Europe, Putin has argued that NATO could use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just 5 minutes. He warned that Russia could achieve similar military capability by deploying warships equipped with the latest Zircon hypersonic missiles in international waters.

Soon after coming to power in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Soviet-built military surveillance facility in Cuba to improve relations with Washington. In recent years, Moscow has increased communications with Cuba as tensions with the United States and its allies escalate.

In December 2018, Russia deployed a pair of its nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela in a show of support for President Nicolas Maduro to face pressure from the West.