MOSCOW, December 24 (Sputnik) – Russia plans on expanding its military and technical cooperation with Latin America by creating ports and using local airports, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday.
“We are interested in creating [Material Technical Support] points, and we’re not talking about any bases. We are interested in the ability of our ships being able to visit ports in Latin American countries and using their airports,” Antonov said.
Antonov said he had Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in mind.
He also noted that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is likely to pay a visit to Latin America in 2015.
Following Crimea's reunification with Russia and the escalation of the military conflict in the southeast of Ukraine, relations between Moscow and a number of Western countries, as well as with NATO, deteriorated significantly.
The West has accused Russia of participating in the Ukrainian conflict and while the United States and its allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Moscow, NATO ceased all practical cooperation with Russia, limiting contact to the ambassadorial and higher levels.
The alliance also boosted its military presence in Poland and in the former Soviet Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern over NATO's expansion and says it undermines the security of Europe and the whole world.