Putin confirms visit to Cuba

Moscow, Oct 29 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin said today he gladly accepts the invitation to visit Cuba, when he met his fellow Caribbean peer, Miguel Díaz-Canel, at the Novoe Ogoriovo residence, in the outskirts of this capital.

Putin congratulated Díaz-Canel for his election as president of Cuba. 'Last year you made an official visit to this country, but now you do it for the first time as head of state of the Republic of Cuba, as provided by the new Constitution,' he said.

He also said that in Russia they know well the prehistory of the links between the two countries. I would like to point out that this year you made an extended visit, I hope it was interesting and useful, said thwe Russian President.

The Russian head of state also referred to the increase in bilateral trade exchange by 33 percent last year and stressed in Russia they always viewed with special sympathy the independent position of Cuba and its sovereign policy.

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Venezuelan president meets with Russian counterpart in Moscow

Moscow, September 25 (RHC)-- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has met with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.  

During the meeting on Wednesday, Putin expressed his full support for the legitimate government of President Maduro and reaffirmed Russia's commitment to the further development of bilateral relations between the two countries.

The Russian news agency Sputnik reported that both leaders talked about economic, social and cultural relations between Venezuela and Russia.

The Venezuelan president and his accompanying delegation are on an official visit to Russia.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Russia open to dialogue, Putin Invites G7

President Vladimir Putin invited the countries of the Group of Seven (G7) to Russia and assured that Moscow is open to dialogue with its members, during his speech on Thursday at the Eastern Economic Forum.

'In its day, the last G8 was going to be held in Russia. We remain open and if our partners want to come, we will be delighted. It was not we who postponed (that summit) but our partners,' Putin said in the plenary session of the event in this coastal city of the Russian Pacific.

The head of the Kremlin pointed out that any dialogue format is always useful.

'It is always positive to exchange opinions, also when the voice is raised. From what I understand, this is what happened in the G7 (August summit in Biarritz, France) and still remains useful. Therefore, we do not refuse any kind of cooperation', he added.

Before and during the last G7 summit, made up of the United States, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, US President Donald Trump insisted that Russia should return to the format.

However, he doubted the convenience of inviting Putin to the 2020 meeting that will be in his country and acknowledged that, although some members support him, there is no unanimity for Moscow to return to the table.

The initiative has also been raised previously by Italy and Japan, whose prime minister, Shinzo Abe, also participated in the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, said he had addressed the issue of re-entering Russia to the G7 at its last summit.

Abe acknowledged that 'Russia plays an important role in solving international problems. That is why I addressed this issue of Russia's return to format. '

Asked about the possibility of expanding the G7 or G8, Putin considered that Turkey along with India and China could participate in a broader format similar to the Group of Seven.

He said Turkey deserves to be a member of an international group of the G7 type, taking into account 'its role in international and regional affairs.'

The Russian leader revealed that he recently had a conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who regretted that Putin had not raised the issue of Turkey's participation in the G7. (PL)

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Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin Confirm Willingness to Cooperate

The Chairman of the State Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un, and Russian President Vladimir Puntin reiterated Thursday their friendship and willingness to cooperate.

The intentions were emphasized by both leaders during an exchange of messages on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of Korea's liberation (August 15, 1945), according to the website of the DPRK Foreign Ministry.

Kim Jong-un, also president of the Workers' Party, said in his letter to the Russian leader that relations between Pyongyang and Moscow were at a new advanced stage.

He cited as examples the economy, culture and politics, among other sectors, which have as direct references the historical relations of brotherhood.

He added that Koreans will always remember the internationalist feats of the heroic officers and soldiers of the Red Army, who offered their precious lives for the sacred cause of Korea's liberation and accompanied the Koreans in the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.

In his text to Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin wrote that Russia and the DPRK have friendly and constructive relations.

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‘In what capacity?’ Putin puzzled as Zelensky invites outgoing PM May to chaperon their talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered a tongue-in-cheek approval for a proposed multilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, but questioned his choice of the outgoing British PM as a participant.

On Monday, Zelensky’s office released a video address to Putin, in which he claimed that the two leaders needed to talk in person. “We do not change or reject any diplomatic format. We suggest talking. We need to have a talk, don’t we?” Zelensky said.

Putin, who was asked for a response during a press conference on Thursday, agreed that a meeting with Zelensky “may be interesting,” but chided the Ukrainian president over the list of proposed attendees. Zelensky wants the leaders of the US, the UK, Germany and France to chaperon him during the talks with Putin, and referred to them all by name in the address. The Russian leader said that the inclusion of the outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May seemed strange to him.

“As far as I know, in a couple of weeks she resigns from the office of the prime minister of Britain. In what capacity is she being invited to the meeting? It’s not clear. Did she even agree to it or not?” Putin remarked.

Also on rt.com Passport sparring: Putin ‘welcomes’ idea of giving UKRAINIAN citizenship to Russians...

The Russian president said that such details should be worked out before he and Zelensky could have a productive meeting. He expects that a serious, top-level Russian-Ukrainian summit will only be possible after snap parliamentary elections are held in Ukraine later this month, and the new legislature appoints a new government.

Putin and Zelensky have been trading rhetorical barbs through the media for months. The Ukrainian leader draws on his artistic talent and sense of comedy for inspiration, while his Russian opponent has the benefit of decades of experience as a world leader in his armory.

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Putin on Guaido’s Plea to God: Get Back to Earth and Dialogue

Putin emphasized the need to renew a “peaceful dialogue without any sort of interference” that in turn makes things “worse for all Venezuelans.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, while addressing the current situation in Venezuela, said on Thursday that since opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido proclaimed himself president “before God” yet received no heavenly “signs,” it's time to get back to earth and dialogue.

RELATED: China and Mexico Reject US Interference in Venezuelan Affairs

During an official state visit to Italy, Putin recalled that on Jan. 23 Guaido raised his eyes to heaven and, addressing God, proclaimed himself the “interim president" of Venezuela, in violation of the Constitution of the Latin American nation. 

"But God did not tell us what his reaction to this message was, he did not give us any sign, that's why I believe we should return to sinful earth and abide by democratic procedures," the Russian head of state remarked. 

Like many times before, Putin emphasized the need to renew a “peaceful dialogue without any sort of interference” that in turn makes things “worse for all Venezuelans.”

Even though the majority of world leaders, including Russia and China, have not recognized Guaido’s "leadership," the United States (U.S.) and its regional allies, especially the right-wing "Lima Group," continue to do so. Thus, and with U.S.-backing, the opposition lawmaker has tried and failed to oust democratically elected president, Nicolas Maduro.

The last attempt was carried out on April 30, when Guaido urged the armed forces to support his effort to oust Maduro. The lawmaker appeared outside an air force base with dozens of National Guard members, which later turned out that had been tricked into showing up at the highway interchange of Altamira. 

Guaido and opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez — who violated his house arrest — tried to get the army and people to join their coup but failed. 

Despite all, the Venezuelan government has continued to push for mediated talks with the opposition, through the Uruguayan Mechanism launched between Mexico and Uruguay with the support of 15 state-members of the Organization of American States (OAS).

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Li said, “The international community must insist in the respect of the objectives and principles of the U.N. Charter, as well as the basic rules of international relations,” and that the U.S. "should not interfere with (Venezuela's) domestic affairs.”

Meanwhile, President Maduro confirmed the commitment of his government to hold talks in Norway and assured that next week he will announce "good news."

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Putin, After 3 Days, Says Fire-Hit Russian Submarine Was Nuclear-Powered

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed on Thursday for the first time that a secret military submarine hit by a fatal fire three days ago was nuclear-powered, prompting the defence minister to assure him its reactor had been safely contained.

Russian officials have faced accusations of trying to cover up the full details of the accident that killed 14 sailors as they were carrying out what the defence ministry called a survey of the sea floor near the Arctic.

Moscow's slow release of information about the incident has drawn comparisons with the opaque way the Soviet Union handled the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster, and another deadly submarine accident -- the 2000 sinking of the nuclear-powered Kursk, which claimed 118 lives.

Russia, which says the details of the submarine involved in the latest accident are classified, said the fire took place on Monday, though it was only officially disclosed late on Tuesday.

Until Thursday there was also no official word on whether the vessel had a nuclear reactor, despite strong interest from neighbouring Norway.

Putin revealed that the submarine had been nuclear-powered by asking Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu during a Kremlin meeting about the reactor's condition after the fire.

"The nuclear reactor on the vessel is completely isolated," Shoigu told Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript. "All the necessary measures were taken by the crew to protect the reactor, which is in complete working order."

The fire erupted in the submarine's battery compartment, Shoigu added, and later spread.

Although the Kremlin publicised the meeting on Thursday morning, it was not immediately clear when the men had met.

"There has not been any formal communication from Russia to us about this," Per Strand, a director at the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, told Reuters when asked if it had been informed that the submarine was nuclear-powered.

"We understand they brought the situation under control quickly, under difficult conditions, and there was, as such, no nuclear incident that they were obligated to tell us about.

"Still, we would have been happy to have been informed of such incidents," he added.

Top-secret submarine

Russian servicemen attended a memorial service on Thursday in the port city of Kronstadt near St Petersburg in honour of the 14 dead submariners.

Held in the hulking Russian Orthodox Naval Cathedral of St Nicholas, sailors cradled lit candles and looked on as priests read out prayers and a choir chanted in the background.

Shoigu, a close Putin ally, told the president that the submarine, which authorities said had been operating in the Barents Sea area, would be fully repaired.

"Right now, we are assessing how long it will take, how much work there is, and how we can carry it out," he said.

Shoigu's ministry has released photographs of the deceased sailors, hailing them as "real patriots of the Motherland".

Separately, a photograph of a tribute to them circulated on social media which appeared to have been hung on the wall of a Russian military facility. Reuters could not immediately confirm its authenticity, but it said the men had served on board a deep-sea submersible known by the designation AS-31.

Russian media have previously reported, without official confirmation, that the vessel was designated as either AS-31 or AS-12 and is designed to carry out special operations at depths where regular submarines cannot operate.

The submarine is made up of a series of inter-connected spheres that allow it to resist water pressure at great depths. Western military experts have suggested it is capable of probing and possibly even severing undersea communications cables.

Putin ordered Shoigu to prepare posthumous state awards for the dead submariners. An official investigation into the accident, likely to be shrouded in secrecy, is already underway.

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Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump To Discuss Iran, Arms At G20 Summit: Kremlin

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Donald Trump will discuss arms control and Iran and Syria crises on the sidelines of this week's G20 summit in Japan, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

Putin is also set to have talks with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told journalists.

Putin and Trump will meet in Japan's western city of Osaka on Friday.

"As far as the subject of discussions is concerned, a lot depends on the leaders," Ushakov told reporters, adding that they are also likely to touch upon "strategic stability" and Ukraine.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss arms control including New START, a key nuclear weapons agreement that caps the number of nuclear warheads.

Putin said this month that Washington showed no genuine interest in conducting talks on extending the agreement and said Russia was prepared to drop the pact.

The Russian president will meet Britain's May after suggesting that it was time to "turn the page" on the countries' difficult relationship after the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the English city of Salisbury last year.

Putin and May previously met for formal talks on the sidelines of a G20 summit in China in 2016.

Putin and the Saudi Crown Prince will discuss the Russian leader's visit to the kingdom planned for October, while talks with Erdogan will focus on Russia's supplies of S-400 missiles that angered the United States.

Putin is also expected to meet with France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Angela Merkel and have a trilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi.

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