Russia set to reopen Soviet-era spy post on Cuba – source

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By Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has quietly reached a provisional agreement with Cuba on reopening a big Soviet-era base on the Caribbean island from which it spied in the United States, a Russian security source said on Wednesday. Confirming a report in the daily Kommersant newspaper which said the deal was agreed in principle during a visit to Cuba last week by President Vladimir Putin, the source told Reuters: “A framework agreement has been agreed.” At the height of the Cold War, the base at Lourdes, just south of the capital Havana, had up to 3,000 personnel and was the biggest center Moscow operated abroad for gathering intelligence from radio signals. Discussions about reopening it began several years ago and intensified this year, Kommersant said, as relations with the United States deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine. Since the crisis worsened in February, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia and Moscow has been trying to bolster ties with other countries, including in Asia and Latin America, to ensure Russia is not isolated.