HAVANA (AP) — Former Cuban President Fidel Castro has published an article applauding a Russian-backed proposal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons. The U.S. and Russia reached agreement Saturday to implement the plan amid an ongoing civil war in the Middle Eastern country.

In an article published in Cuban press Saturday, the 87-year-old leader says “the intelligent Russian initiative” meant “the risk that the conflict explodes with its lamentable consequences seems to have diminished.” The article is signed by Castro and dated Sept. 10.

Castro also lauds Russia as a “brave country” that “stayed firm before the unusual pretension of the government of the United States, threatening to launch an overwhelming attack against the Syrian defenses.”

Fidel Castro Pens New Article, Praises Russia as a Brave Country

A poster of Cuba’s Fidel Castro hangs on the wall of a food market next to plate that reads in Spanish “I’m looking at you” in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013. Castro turns 87 on Tuesday. Castro’s brother Raul Castro has been in power since a near-fatal illness forced Fidel to step aside in 2006. (AP)