Lest we also forget the quote in Pravda where Putin reportedly said Russian nuclear missiles were already reinstalled in Cuba.
- Facility at Lourdes was the largest Russian listening post abroad
- It was mothballed in 2001 after relations with the U.S. warmed
- But relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis
- Moscow has also shown a new interest in Latin America and Cuba
- Last week, Russia agreed to write off 90 per cent of Cuba’s debt
Russia has agreed to reopen a major Cold War listening post on Cuba that was used to spy on America, it was reported today.
Moscow-based daily Kommersant claimed Russia and Cuba have struck a deal ‘in principle’ after President Vladimir Putin visited the island last week.
Citing several sources within Russian authorities, the respected daily wrote: ‘The agreements were finalised while President Vladimir Putin visited Havana last Friday.
The signals intelligence facility near Havana at Torrens, also known as Lourdes, was the largest Russian SIGINT site abroad, but has been mothballed since 2001.
Russia had closed the Lourdes spy base south of Havana on Putin’s orders to save money and due to a warming of relations with the U.S. after the September 11 attacks.
But Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.
Just 155 miles from the U.S. coast, it was the Soviet Union’s largest covert military outpost abroad with up to 3,000 staff.
‘All I can say is – finally!’ one Russian source told Kommersant of the reported reopening.
Ahead of Putin’s visit to Cuba last week as part of a Latin American tour, Russia agreed to write off 90 per cent of Cuba’s debt dating back to the Soviet era, totalling around $32 billion.
Russia paid Cuba rent of $200 million per year to use the base in the last few years it was open.
A former head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, told the newspaper the base would strengthen Russia’s international position.
‘Lourdes gave the Soviet Union eyes in the whole of the western hemisphere,’ he said.
Full article: Russia ‘to reopen Cold War Cuban listening post used to spy on America’ (Daily Mail)