Russia Loans Cuba $50mn for Arms Purchases

Russia will lend Cuba over $50 million for purchases of Russian military equipment, business newspaper Kommersant reported, citing two sources involved in technical and military cooperation between the two countries.

According to the sources, the agreement for the loan will be signed during the 16th intergovernmental commission on economy, trade and scientific-technical cooperation due to take place in Havana this week. However, neither Russia nor Cuba have confirmed the reports.

“This sum will go straight to military and technical cooperation. Along with this agreement, a set of general economic documents and agreements initiated by the Russian Ministry of Finance will be signed, but other sums will be allocated for that,” one of the sources familiar with the negotiations said.

Cuba will reportedly be able to use the said money for purchasing armored vehicles and aviation: presumably, helicopters that are at the disposal of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

“Separately, they will buy spare parts, tools and equipment for the earlier purchased vehicles and to maintain, for instance, T-62 tanks or APC-60 armored vehicles,” the speaker pointed out to the edition.

The newspaper reported that Havana was also planning to purchase industrial equipment under separate contracts on a commercial basis.

In 2014, Russia wrote off $32 billion of Cuba’s debt toward Moscow, stemming from the Soviet era. In 2017, Havana formally turned to Russia requesting modernization of the country’s operating equipment. Alexander Mikheev, the head of Rosoboronexport, the country’s state-run company in charge of arms exports, recently noted that direct commercial contracts could be coming in the near future.