Putin to attend SCO virtual meeting on July 4, Russian President invited to Cuba

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July 3 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in a videoconference meeting of the heads of states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on July 4, the TASS news agency cited the Kremlin as saying on Monday.

The SCO is a political and security union of countries spanning much of Eurasia, including China, India and Russia.

Putin has an invitation to visit Cuba

Meanwhile,  Russia’s ambassador to Cuba said President Vladimir Putin had an invitation to visit the Communist-run island but that it was too early to talk about preparations for such a trip, the state RIA news agency said.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin) has an invitation, but I don’t know how his plans will be lined up,” Ambassador Viktor Koronelli told RIA. “The president of Cuba was in Moscow not long ago, in November of last year, so no real time has passed.”

Longtime political allies Cuba and Russia – both subject to U.S. sanctions – have increased economic ties by facilitating trade and investment to circumvent those restrictions.

Cuba had welcomed 66,000 tourists from Russia so far this year and Aeroflot’s resumption of regular flights would probably mean a total of 100,000 Russian tourists visit the islands in 2023, Koronelli said.

When he met Putin in 2022, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel passed the Kremlin chief a personal greeting from Cuba’s former leader Raul Castro and condemned the West’s sanctions on Russia.

“I would like to say again that Russia can always rely on Cuba, all our aspirations and will,” he told Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript. “We will continue to do everything to ensure that our relations continue to grow and strengthen.”

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