Lavrov to visit Cuba as tensions with West over Ukraine

AFP , Monday 28 Apr 2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides in Moscow March 28, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was expected in Havana Monday for a two day visit, the foreign ministry said, amid high tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Cuba has sided with Russia in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, but has yet to speak directly to the issue.

Lavrov will meet with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, Tuesday morning, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in an invitation to the press to cover the meeting.

Russia's top diplomat is likely to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro as well.

Moscow and Havana were close allies for 30 years during the Cold War, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. After a rift under former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, they resumed political and economic ties as well as military cooperation.

The United States and the European Union sought to punish Moscow for the crisis Monday with another round of sanctions against Ukrainian and Russian figures and companies.

As pro-Kremlin militias continue to seize government buildings in eastern Ukraine, US and EU authorities decided that Moscow is showing no sign of 'de-escalating' the crisis by living up to the Geneva accord reached April 17.

Short link: