Russia: Buying a Military Cooperation Agreement with Cuba



September 29, 2006: Georgia released one of the Russian intelligence officers it is holding. Georgians have been feuding with Russia ever since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. Russia wants to continue to maintain military bases in Georgia, and retain access to Black Sea ports. The Georgians want the Russians out. But Russia has supported two break away groups in Georgia, and that assistance has enabled these two minorities to maintain mini-states within Georgia. Russia is also angry at Georgia for not expelling Chechen rebels who maintain refuges in northern Georgia.

September 28, 2006: Russia and Cuba signed a military cooperation agreement, which will allow Russian forces to use Cuban bases for intelligence collection, and other purposes. The Russians paid for it by providing Cuba with a $350 million line of credit (for the purchase of Russian goods.) Cuba has not been able to get credit for years because they have defaulted on so many debts. Currently, Cuba owes Russia over $20 billion for past purchases.

Russia completed a $1.5 billion arms deal with China by turning over a second Sovremenny class destroyer. Earlier, six Kilo class submarines were also delivered.

September 27, 2006: Georgia arrested four Russian army intelligence (GRU) officers and charged them with spying, along with ten Georgians who were accused of working for the Russians. Georgian police surrounded the offices of the Russian military and demanded the surrender of a fifth Russian officer.

September 26, 2006: For the first time since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the Russian Air Force held large scale exercises with its heavy bombers (fifty Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M aircraft.)

September 25, 2006: Intolerance is on the rise, with three mosques and two synagogues attacked in the last few days, and an Indian medical student murdered. Violence, both verbal and physical, against foreigners is more common.

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