Russian Security Council Secretary Meets With Castro, Diaz-Canel In Cuba's Capital

First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Raul Castro and the newly-elected President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel discussed Russian-Cuban cooperation with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev in Havana, the council's spokesman has announced.

"During the meeting, an exchange of views took place on a wide range of issues of Russian-Cuban cooperation, including security, as well as the international agenda. The sides pointed out that the stances of Russia and Cuba on the main regional and international issues are similar or coincide," Yevgeny Anoshin said on Wednesday.

Patrushev congratulated Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel with his election.

Cuba's National Assembly elected Diaz-Canel as the country's president during an extraordinary session last week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Miguel Diaz-Canel on being elected as the Cuban president, expressing hope that mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries would expand.

  • Published in Cuba

Russia Denies It Bombed Four Syrian Hospitals In 12 Hours

London: Russia on Monday denied a US newspaper report that its warplanes bombed four hospitals in rebel-held territory in Syria over a period of 12 hours this year.

The Russian defence ministry rubbished the claim in a report by The New York Times, saying "the alleged 'evidence' provided by the NYT is not worth even the paper it was printed on".

The May strikes -- which the newspaper tied to Moscow through Russian radio recordings, plane spotter logs and accounts by witnesses -- are part of a larger pattern of medical facilities targeted by forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's devastating civil war.

Nabad al Hayat Surgical Hospital -- which staff had fled three days earlier in anticipation of the facility being bombed -- was one of those struck during the 12-hour period beginning on May 5, according to the Times' investigation.

A Russian ground controller gave the exact coordinates of the hospital to the pilot, who reported having it insight a few minutes later, the newspaper said.

The controller gave the go-ahead for the strike at the same time that a spotter who was tasked with warning civilians about impending strikes logged a Russian jet in the area.

The pilot then reported releasing bombs, and local journalists filming the hospital recorded three bombs going through its roof and exploding.

Kafr Nabl Surgical Hospital -- just a few miles (kilometers) away -- was bombed multiple times shortly afterwards.

As with the earlier strike, a spotter registered one of Moscow's jets circling, and a Russian air force transmission recorded a pilot saying he had "worked" the target before delivering three strikes that were confirmed by a doctor, the Times said.

The Kafr Zita Cave Hospital and Al Amal Orthopedic Hospital were also bombed by Russian aircraft during the 12-hour period. All four facilities had provided their coordinates to the United Nations for inclusion on a list to avoid strikes.

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in a lengthy statement reacting to the report claimed The New York Times had become a "victim of manipulation by terrorists and British security services".

He took issue with a number of details in the report including the anonymity of the newspaper's sources and said that radioed voice commands are not used to pass coordinates to pilots of Russian fighter planes in Syria.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced last month that he was setting up an internal investigation into the bombing of hospitals in Syria that had previously flagged their coordinates.

Several dozen medical facilities with links to the UN have been damaged or destroyed by bombs this year. Russian has denied deliberately targeting civilian installations.

  • Published in World

Cargo plane crashes in Congo with presidential staff on board

A cargo plane carrying presidential staff crashed in eastern Congo on Thursday, and all eight passengers and crew are feared dead, a presidential adviser told Reuters on Friday.

The plane, carrying President Felix Tshisekedi’s driver, a logistics manager and some soldiers, was headed from Goma to the capital Kinshasa and went off radar on Thursday afternoon, an hour after departing, a statement from the civil aviation authority said.

Debris of the plane has been found but the passengers are still missing, said adviser Vidiye Tshimanga. He had told Reuters earlier on Friday that eight bodies had been found but said that information was incorrect.

The cause of the accident was not yet clear.

Local media showed a crowd of hundreds of Tshisekedi supporters hitting the streets of Kinshasa after the news broke on Friday morning, fearing that the plane crash had been some kind of failed coup attempt against Tshisekedi. The president took over from long-standing former President Joseph Kabila this year.

No information immediately backed up such a claim.

  • Published in World

Putin highlights importance of strengthening strategic partnership with Cuba

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Miguel Diaz-Canel on his election as President of the Republic of Cuba.

"We attach great importance to strengthening relations of strategic partnership with Cuba. I am confident that your upcoming visit to Russia will help to further expand mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various fields," the head of state stressed in his message of congratulations posted on the Kremlin’s website on Friday.

Putin also noted that the National Assembly’s decision testifies to Diaz-Canel’s high political reputation and recognition of his achievements in tackling issues related to the country’s socio-economic development.

He wished the Cuban president every success in his work as the head of state as well as good health and well-being.

  • Published in Cuba

Russia to help Cuba to develop oil & gas reserves

Russia plans to have its companies help Cuba to develop its oil and natural gas resources as part of a close energy cooperation, a senior Russian official said, just as Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev began a 2-day visit to Cuba amid growing U.S.-Cuba tension, Oilprice reported.

Russia and Cuba have signed a roadmap for Russian companies to develop Cuba’s energy sector in a bid to reduce import dependence and raise energy security, Sergei Prikhodko, 1st Deputy Head of the Russian Government Office, said on October 3, as carried by TASS.

“The main goal of the program is to reduce the dependency of Cuba from the import of energy resources and increase the country’s energy security,” Prikhodko said, noting that the communist-run island - a close ally of Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela - is also interested in cooperation in developing its natural resources.

“The work on these and other promising areas of cooperation in the energy sector would continue,” TASS quoted Prikhodko as saying.

Russia and Cuba are also discussing the use of nuclear technologies in medicine and agriculture, the Russian official said, adding that Russia is ready to assist Cuba should the Latin American country decide to develop nuclear power generation industry.

Prikhodko was talking to reporters while Russian Prime Minister Medvedev was heading to Havana for a 2-day visit, in which Russia and Cuba to discuss a wide range of cooperation deals, including in the energy sector.

The visit of a top Russian politician to Cuba comes as the United States is escalating the pressure on Cuba and Venezuela. Despite the increasingly tougher U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, Maduro’s regime continues to export fuel and oil to Cuba.

Also due to the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba has been suffering from fuel shortages, while the U.S. is trying to stop Venezuela’s oil exports to its regional and ideological ally.

  • Published in Cuba

Russia supports Cuba’s demand for stopping economic blockade — Medvedev

Russia supports Cuba’s demands for stopping economic blocade, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

"We are categorically against the economic, trade and financial blockade of Cuba. We support Havana’s fair demand this blockade be stopped," Medvedev said after the Russian-Cuban talks.

The Russian prime minister pledged that Cuba "has good friends" in Russia, which "is a reliable partner." "Respect to sovereignty and independence is the basis of our national character and state politics," he added.

  • Published in Cuba

Russian-Cuban projects ensure infrastructure stability — Russian official

Cooperation between Russia and Cuba on many projects helps ensure infrastructure stability and security on the island, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told reporters after the meeting between chairman of Cuba's State Council and Council of Ministers Miguel Diaz-Canel and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"The character of our relations has become more thoughtful, systemic and long-term. All projects that are being implemented right now are associated with serious modernization of infrastructure, ensuring energy security. Now we will be considering issues of Cuba's food security as it pertains to delivering grains, livestock products," Borisov said. "Such projects ensure infrastructure stability of the country," he added.

Borisov said that the contract signed between Cuba and Russian Railways (RZD) envisages "core modernization of the whole railroad infrastructure, which will increase passenger flow and trade turnover by 2-3 times." Average speed of trains will increase from 30-40 km/h to 100-120 km/h after works are completed.

Medvedev earlier said that Russia and Cuba continue supporting each other through joint investment projects in different spheres. The Russian prime minister said that during talks, Diaz-Canel and him "confirmed plans to continue strengthening strategic partnership.".

  • Published in Cuba

Tie-break will determine the winner of FIDE World Cup

The fourth games of the Final and the 3rd place match of the FIDE World Cup were played on October 3 in Khanty-Mansiysk. The playing venue was visited by Yury Yuzhakov and Alexander Tirtoka, Deputy Governors of Ugra, and FIDE Vice-President Mahir Mammedov.

Ding Liren and Teimour Radjabov played a variation of the English Opening, in which Black sacrifices a pawn, but obtains certain compensation due to an insecure position of the white king. The game quickly transposed to an endgame, where White's ruined pawn structure left him little chance of utilizing the extra material. Black regained a pawn in a rook ending and equialised the game fully. A draw was agreed on the 31st move.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Yu Yangyi once again played the Petrov’s Defense. According to the Frenchman, his position was better, however, he was unable to increase this advantage, and after multiple exchanges the game equalised. The players agreed to a draw in a queen ending.

Thus, classical parts of both matches ended in a 2-2 tie, and the winners will be determined on tie-break on Friday, October 4.

In the first rapid game Teimour Radjabov will have White against Ding Liren, and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave will have White against Yu Yangyi.

  • Published in Sports
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