HAVANA, February 23. /TASS/. Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the State Duma (the lower house of Russia’s parliament), arrived in Cuba on an official visit on Wednesday.
Volodin was welcomed by Russia’s Ambassador to Cuba Andrey Guskov at the airport.
Apart from Cuba, the State Duma speaker plans to visit Nicaragua the next day. The State Duma said earlier that the visits would focus on bilateral cooperation and the promotion of inter-parliamentary dialogue.
Volodin is expected to meet with lawmakers and the leadership of those countries. Among them are Esteban Lazo Hernandez, the head of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power and the State Council, and Gustavo Porras Cortes, the head of Nicaragua’s National Assembly.
Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel that due to the pandemic and long distances, it was the first meeting on Cuban soil for five years.
"Sanctions against Russia and our citizens have been in effect for eight years. But if we talk about Cuba, as long as there is an independent state, there has been a blockade. The sanctions against the proud and freedom-loving nation have remained in place for over 60 years. The Soviet Union used to help a lot. After its breakup Cuba was left on its own to face challenges and problems," he recalled.
According to Volodin, "it is not easy to preserve sovereignty and independence" for the Cubans, who are at a distance of 180 kilometers from the United States.
"We need to develop relations and to help each other," he said, adding that those issues would the focus of Wednesday’s meetings.