Two senior lawmakers have urged that opting for an aggressive stand, Russia again deploy missile systems to Cuba in reply to the US plans that could threaten Russia and its allies. In 1962, challenging the American dominance, Russia had deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba which situation came to be known internationally as the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’.
The US plans to post its ‘High Mobility Artillery Rocket System’ (HIMARS) in Turkey. These rockets have a fire range of about 500 kilometers. The Lawmakers of the Communist party feel this implies a potential threat to the member nations of the ‘Collective Security Treaty Organization’ (CSTO), the Russia-led military bloc. Deputies Valeri Rashkin and Sergey Obukhov, in a letter addressed to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, urged that missile complexes be deployed to Cuba to protect Russian interest.
Apart from the missile complexes, the deputies urge the reopening of the Signals Intelligence Centre in Lourdes, Cuba. In 1967 Russia set up an electronic monitoring station in Lourdes and closed it in 2001. However, in consideration of the tension prevailing between Russia and the US over the Ukraine issue, this base was believed to be set to reopen. In their letter, Rashkin and Obukhov claim that the deployment of missiles and the reopening of the intelligence base is plausible within the terms of the deals of friendship and co-operation existing between Russia and Cuba.
The copies of the letter have been forwarded to the Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and to the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who have not responded yet. However, the Deputy Head of the Russian Upper House Committee for International Relations, Vladimir Djabarov has dismissed the demand of the communist MPs. Djabarov alleged that to begin with, the situation in Cuba had changed and secondly, placing missiles there had no bearing on the security of Russia.
Last year there was news that Russia proposed to reopen the Vigilance station in Cuba but President Putin had, on his Cuba tour, clearly shrugged it off. But the last few months have been showing signs of the resurfacing of the military rivalry and the cold war between the US and Russia, which makes all the more significant the demands of the Russian MPs