Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top ally arrived in Cuba on Wednesday to meet with Communist Party Leader Raul Castro and President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Tass news agency reported.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev met with Diaz-Canel and Castro with the aim of deepening Russian-Cuban relations.
The two parties also discussed their international problems and how to deepen bilateral cooperation between both countries.
As a gesture of goodwill to deepen relations between the two long-time allies, Russia gave an “emergency” donation of 25,000 tonnes of wheat last month to address the food shortages that are currently taking place on the island.
Russia’s Ambassador to Cuba, Andrei Guskov, said that Moscow “accompanies Cuba’s efforts in its development in areas such as industry, machinery, transportation, and energy.”
Patrushev’s visit comes as Russia is looking to strengthen political and economic ties with other countries after it was hit with sanctions by Western countries over the war in Ukraine.
Patrushev also visited Venezuela and Algeria in an attempt to strengthen ties with the two countries, where he held talks with high-ranking government officials to discuss bilateral ties between the countries and the current situation in Latin America.
Russia is facing “political pressure, military blackmail, financial enslavement, economic sanctions and deceitful propaganda to preserve a unipolar world order,” Patrushev said during his recent visit to Venezuela, suggesting that the U.S. is using any means necessary to force countries to cut their ties with Moscow.
The U.S. and other NATO allies have adopted sanctions against Russia since its illegal invasion of Ukraine which has left millions displaced and killed thousands of civilians. The U.N. has documented at least 8,000 civilian deaths and 13,3000 injuries totaling 21,000 civilian casualties, including 487 children killed and 954 injured.
According to UNICEF, the percentage of Ukrainian children now living in poverty has increased from 43 to 82%. Thousands of children have also been deprived of proper medical care since Russia has annihilated more than 800 health care facilities, the international agency says.
While the actual number of casualties are believed to be much higher, Russian bombings have reportedly left 14 million displaced, many without electricity, food and water. The U.N. has also found more than 100 cases of sexual violence with hundreds of instances of “enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention” and torture against Ukrainians in occupied areas.
“These are just the cases that we have been able to document,” Ms. Bogner said. “The real scale of these things is yet to be fully understood but our figures show that there are a lot of violations taking place.”