Staunton, November 5 – To counter NATO’s projection of force up to the Russian border, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy head of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, says, Moscow should restore its military base in Cuba. That base, he says, should support not only Russian naval operations but air force ones as well.
“Our presence must be everywhere,” the Russian senator says. “I will even insist that in this regard we devote significantly more efforts than we are doing at the present time” so that Russia can respond to anything the Americans may do in a powerful and effective way (rbc.ru/politics/05/11/2017/59fed1979a794741e8d321a1?from=main
Klintsevich’s declaration is not the first such appeal. In April 2016, two KPRF Duma deputies appealed to Putin and the government to re-open the Lourdes listening post in Cuba and to put Russian missiles on the island just 90 miles from the US. At that time, the Russian defense ministry responded by saying it was studying the issue.
Now, there may be more going on. Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, in response to Klintsevich’s words, declared that “international circumstances are fluid and countries must take necessary measures on the basis of their own interests.” But he said journalists should ask the defense ministry for details on a possible base in Cuba.
The Russian listening post at Lourdes, near Havana, was closed in 2001 in order to save money and because satellites had made it unnecessary, Russian officials said at the time. Even Putin said at the time that the facility in Cuba was too expensive. But now things may have changed – or Moscow may want to use this threat as a negotiating ploy.