Moscow rekindles economic ties with Cold War ally
Trade turnover between Russia and Cuba has surged ninefold in the first four months of the year, compared to 2022, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Wednesday.
Mishustin’s statement came during a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Manuel Marrero Cruz in Sochi. The two officials are planning to travel to Moscow before attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum next week.
“Cuba is our key partner in Latin America. Our cooperation is based on strong traditions of friendship, solidarity, mutual respect and trust,” Mishustin stated at the meeting. He added that together the two countries “are resisting unprecedented sanctions pressure from unfriendly states.”
Cuba has been suffering through a US-imposed trade embargo for over six decades, while Russia has been targeted by Western sanctions since 2014.
Moscow and Havana have been close economic partners since the days of the Soviet Union, and saw bilateral trade triple last year. Mishustin expressed confidence during his speech that economic cooperation between the nations will continue to grow.
“Despite unfavorable geopolitical conditions, last year our trade turnover amounted to almost 60 billion rubles ($730 million). This year the positive dynamics still exist. In January-April the trade volume increased ninefold in comparison with the same period of 2022. I am certain the growth trend will continue,” the prime minister said.
Mishustin pointed out that the governments of the two countries are working to develop economic cooperation in various sectors, including through agreements reached at the presidential level. He noted that a number of deals were reached just last month, including joint projects in finance, industry, energy, transport, cultural and humanitarian sectors. He urged both sides to step up efforts to boost trade and mutual investment.
The Russian Prime Minister also proposed to further develop cooperation in the tourism sphere, as it will help boost travel between the countries and, in turn, strengthen business and cultural ties.
As a sanctioned country itself, Cuba has not supported Ukraine-related Western sanctions against Russia. Moreover, in early spring, Cuban banks started accepting MIR cards, Russia’s alternative to Visa and Mastercard when they stopped servicing Russian clients. Currently, Havana is also finalizing the steps needed to switch trade settlements with Moscow to Russian rubles.
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