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Russian and Cuban leadership reignite Cold War romance

Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Tensions continue to rise across the world as Russian President Vladimir Putin rekindles his country’s relationship with the island nation of Cuba.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Putin discussed their countries’ “strategic partnership” and how they might work together to pursue “actions in the international arena.” The two men chatted on the phone as NATO allies continued to worry about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Stars and Stripes reported.

Earlier this month, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, compared the Russian buildup of forces around Ukraine and the subsequent international tension to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the New York Post said.

Ryabkov continued by explaining that Russia fully intends to annex parts of Ukraine. He said, “We are not bluffing. ... The West’s awareness of this needs to be facilitated, and we are going to make every effort to achieve it.”

In mid-January, the Associated Press reported that Russia grew increasingly frustrated with NATO allies interfering with its plans and that Russia could consider deploying its military to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalated.

Minister Ryabkov said he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russian military involvement in Cuba and Venezuela should the United States continue to increase pressure on Russia.

Ryabkov said that the decision to do so “depends on the action by our U.S. counterparts” in an interview with the Russian television network RTVI. Ryabkov noted that Putin is open to the possibility of using Russia’s military resources should the United States use its military to pressure Russian decision-making about Ukraine.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed this as “bluster in the public commentary,” the Daily Mail reported.

In preparing for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States ordered family members of American embassy staff in Kyiv to leave the country. This decision frustrated Ukrainian leadership, with some diplomats calling it an “instance of excessive caution.”

On Monday, according to the New York Post, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated that American citizens currently in Ukraine “should leave now” and that the United States government does not currently have intentions to evacuate them should an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia occur.

Psaki said, “There is not an intention for there to be a departure or an evacuation. ... So we are conveying to the American citizens they should leave now.”

When asked whether or not Americans would be on their own should armed conflict begin, Psaki said, “There’s commercial airlines, you can depart over land.”

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