FORTALEZA , Brazil, July 17 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday denied that Russia would reopen an eavesdropping facility in Cuba that has been unused since 2001.
Speaking at an economic conference in Fortaleza, Brazil, Putin said Russia would "meet its defense needs without this component."
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported Wednesday Putin met with Cuban leader Raul Castro last week, where it said "a framework agreement" was reached to make the 28-acre base operational in Lourdes, near Havana.
While in use, starting in 1967, the base was regarded as the Soviet Union's largest overseas listening post, providing intelligence and handling Soviet navy communications. As many as 3,000 people were employed there, before Russia reduced its staff in the 1990s and left it in 2001.
Kommersant noted improvements in technology would likely require fewer people to staff the facility today.