Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned that he does not rule out the strategic dispatch of troops to its allies in the Americas, Venezuela, and Cuba, should disagreements with the Western powers continue. 

Ryabkov, one of the top diplomats of Vladimir Putin’s government and who led his country’s delegation to Monday’s talks in Geneva amid the border conflict with Ukraine, warned Thursday that he could not rule out a Russian military deployment in Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States increase.

According to official sources, the negotiations in Geneva and Wednesday’s NATO-Russia meeting in Vienna failed to narrow the gap in Moscow’s security demands amid a build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine. 

Given this delicate situation, Russia would be willing to maximize its relations with the dictatorships of Nicolas Maduro and Miguel Diaz-Canel in Venezuela and Cuba, respectively. Russia could even go so far as to use strategic geographical points to move military troops, which would increase tension with the United States.

During an interview with the Russian television channel RTVI, Ryabkov pointed out that “everything depends on the action of our American counterpart.” He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that his country could take military-technical measures if the United States acts to “provoke” Russia and increase military pressure.

Ryabkov also noted that both the United States and its NATO allies had rejected Russia’s request for guarantees preventing the alliance’s expansion into Ukraine and other former Soviet nations. He adds that the apparent difference in views raises doubts about the possibility of continuing the talks.

“For us it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO,” he said. “We do not trust the other side.”

U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman confirmed Ryabkov’s remarks: “We were firm in rejecting security proposals that are simply a non-starter for the United States,” she said at a briefing after nearly eight hours of talks with the Russian official.

As they recently pointed out, Russian officials’ concern about NATO and the United States basing in Ukraine lies in the fear that they will use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles that could reach Moscow in as little as 5 minutes.

This situation of extreme tension is inevitably reminiscent of the Cold War years during which the United States and its allies were at constant risk of starting an armed conflict with Russia, which could have had terrible consequences for the whole of humanity. 

Russia’s presence in Latin America, especially in socialist countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, keeps the United States closely watching the moves. 

President Joe Biden is no exception to the U.S. pressure exerted against Russia, which was confirmed when two weeks ago he made it clear to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he cannot “move forward in Ukraine.” He also announced having had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to reaffirm his support for “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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