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Duma speaker to lead Russian delegation to Fidel Castro’s funeral

November 29, 2016, 3:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian aircraft flew to the Freedom Island at midnight

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Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin will lead the Russian delegation to the funeral of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The Russian aircraft flew to the Freedom Island at midnight.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the Russian delegation also includes Dmitry Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Russian-Cuban inter-governmental commission, as well as representatives of the Foreign Ministry and parliamentary factions. The State Duma said that Volodin will be accompanied by First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov, head of the International Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky, First Deputy Chairman of International Affairs Committee Dmitry Novikov and member of the International Affairs Committee Sergey Zheleznyak.

Slutsky told journalists that the participation of such a representative Russian delegation in the funeral "demonstrates the high level of Russian-Cuban relations and strategic partnership between the two countries." "Fidel Castro was an outstanding, truly unique politician of the 20th century, the invincible and unyielding leader of the Cuban nation. Despite toughest decade-long sanctions, he managed to build a new Cuban society, bring people together and withstand the United States rather effectively, preventing the violent overthrow of power on the Freedom Island," Slutsky said.

Volodin earlier conveyed condolences to the Cuban people over Castro’s death. "The name of Fidel Castro has become the symbol of serving the interests of people. For the whole world, he was the promoter of ideas of a social state and an unrelenting fighter for independence of his country, which has become an influential member of international community under his leadership," he said. "Fidel Castro will always be remembered in Russia as a patriot of Cuban people who remained loyal until his last breath, who laid the foundation for friendly relations between our countries," Volodin concluded.

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