The European Union (EU) criticized communist-run Cuba for its support of Russia's aggression in Ukraine after talks on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
Christian Leffler, the EU’s chief negotiator in the talks between the 28-nation bloc and Cuba, told reporters in Havana that Cuba’s backing of Russia was "a point of great concern to the EU":
Speaking hours before the first meeting, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez publicly criticized the European Union and the United States for imposing sanctions on a number of Russian officials.
"Cuba energetically rejects the imposition of sanctions against Russia, knowing that those who impose them are the same governments that have launched wars of conquests that intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign countries and provoke the destabilization of governments that don't go along with their interests of domination," Rodriguez said in an appearance with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was in Havana.
Leffler said Rodriguez's comment did not affect the two days of talks but that he had raised the Ukraine issue in a separate meeting with him.
"We clearly disagree with this assessment of EU policy towards Ukraine and towards Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis," Leffler told the news conference.
The EU and Cuba recently decided to start talks on issues such as human rights, trade, and investment. The talks come as pro-Russian separatists, suspected to be working in cooperation with Moscow, have seized buildings in about a dozen cities near Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.
A recent State Department report noted that Cuba, designated a state sponsor of terrorism since 1982, "has long provided safe haven" to terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and fugitives wanted in the United States.