MOSCOW, July 3 (Reuters) – Russia’s ambassador to Cuba said President Vladimir Putin had been invited to visit the communist-ruled island but it was too early to talk about plans for such a trip , said the official RIA news agency.
“Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) has an invitation, but I don’t know how his plans will line up,” Ambassador Viktor Koronelli told RIA. “The President of Cuba was in Moscow not long ago, in November of last year, so no real time has passed.”
Cuba and Russia, longtime political allies – both subject to US sanctions – have strengthened their economic ties by facilitating trade and investment to circumvent these restrictions.
Cuba has welcomed 66,000 Russian tourists so far this year and the resumption of regular Aeroflot flights would likely mean a total of 100,000 Russian tourists will visit the islands in 2023, Koronelli said.
When he met Putin in 2022, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel conveyed to the Kremlin leader a personal greeting from former Cuban leader Raul Castro and condemned Western sanctions against Russia.
“I would like to repeat that Russia can always count on Cuba, on all our aspirations and our will,” he told Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript. “We will continue to do everything to ensure that our relationship continues to grow and grow stronger.” (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge editing by Andrew Osborn)