Russia declines to rule out stationing troops in Cuba and Venezuela


NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - (Sep. 8, 2021) – Mineman 1st Class Mark Poirier stands watch on the flight deck aboard the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings (LCS 15), as the ship prepares to depart Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Sep. 8, 2021. Billings is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations to support Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which includes counter-illicit drug trafficking missions in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Austin G. Collins/Released)

Moscow — Russia is not ruling out stationing members of its military in Cuba and Venezuela in the event that talks on binding security guarantees Moscow is seeking from the West fail to materialize.

“I don’t want to confirm or rule out anything,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday while speaking on a show broadcast by RTVi. “Everything depends on the actions of American colleagues.”

Russia sees its security threatened by the US military presence in Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently raised the question of how Washington would react if Russia’s military were stationed near the US border.

On Wednesday, representatives of the 30 NATO states and Russia conducted talks for the first time in two-and-a-half years, with the agenda centring on the Ukraine conflict and security guarantees.

There were also talks at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe ( OSCE) on Thursday. On Monday, a high-level meeting of representatives of Russia and the US was conducted in Geneva.

Russia sees its security threatened by NATO’S enlargement strategy and is demanding an end to eastward expansion.

Moscow expressed its disappointment with the negotiations. According to the Interfax news agency, Ryabkov said that there would be no new talks with the US for the time being.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to a “serious confrontation on the world stage” and accused the West of an “arrogant” attitude.

Russia’s next steps would depend on the West’s reaction to Moscow’s proposals, he said. “We will wait for that. And then we will determine our next steps,” he added.

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