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    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Pledges Moscow's Support to Cuba Amid US Sanctions

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow sees Havana as its "pivotal" ally in Latin America and will make every effort to support Cuba amid US sanctions pressure, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said at a meeting with his Cuban counterpart, Ricardo Cabrisas.

    The Intergovernmental Russian-Cuban Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation met in Moscow on Tuesday. Borisov and Cabrisas are the co-chairs of the commission.

    "Our relations are traditionally friendly, and we consider Cuba a pivotal ally in Latin America and the Caribbean region", Borisov said at the meeting.

    READ MORE: US Ends Visas For Group Educational Trips to Cuba — Treasury

    According to Borisov, Russia is actively involved in important economic projects in Cuba in such areas as energy, metallurgy and transport infrastructure. As an example, he referred to the assembly of Russian cars in Cuba and exports of railroad machinery to the Caribbean nation.

    Borisov also noted the negative social and economic impact of US sanctions against Havana, which have been recently reinforced by Washington in response to alleged interference in Venezuela, and pledged that Russia would "do utmost to support" Cuba.

    The previous session of the Russian-Cuban intergovernmental commission was held in Moscow in January. Following the meeting, the sides announced that Russia would participate in the project on modernization of Cuban railroads worth 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The commission also discussed cooperation to upgrade Cuba’s energy sector and nickel factory, as well as restore the airworthiness of the country’s air fleet.

    The United States has in recent weeks stepped up its pressure on Cuba as part of its campaign to oust constitutionally-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and replace him with Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself to be the country's interim leader. Cuba, along with Russia, China and other countries continue to support Maduro as the legitimately elected president of Venezuela.

    READ MORE: Lima Group Wants Cuba to Participate in Resolving Crisis in Venezuela

    In particular, US President Donald Trump has unraveled a series of Obama-era policies intended to normalize relations with Cuba and encourage increased US travel to the island. Trump  has also overturned prohibitions imposed by the past three US presidents against lawsuits by American citizens seeking compensation for property seized by Cuba following the nation’s revolution 60 years ago.

    On Tuesday, The US Treasury Department announced that the sanctions against Cuba will be strengthened to prohibit visas for school and other groups seeking contact with residents on the Caribbean Island.

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    support, cooperation, Yury Borisov, Cuba, Russia
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