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Three Russian navy ships visit Cuba this week

Aug. 3, 2013 at 11:17 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A three-ship Russian task force began an official visit to Cuba this weekend, the Russian navy said.

A spokesman for the Black Sea Fleet told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency the cruiser Moskva, the fleet's flagship, will spend five days in the Havana harbor along with a destroyer and fuel tanker.

While in port, the ships will be open for public tours and the crews will take part in a schedule of cultural and sporting events.

RIA Novosti said the port call was another sign Russia wants to revitalize its longstanding ties with the Cuban government. Analysts told the news agency bilateral military cooperation between Moscow and Havana had ended with the closure of a Russian outpost near the capital that monitored military communications in the United States.

A long-range goal of the fence-mending could be the reopening of the monitoring station and the use of Cuban airfields for refueling Russian military aircraft.

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