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Russia Eying $200 Million Investment in Cuban Airport With UAE

Vintage cars parked near the Cuban Capitol in Havana.

Russia may build a large international airport in Cuba with investors from the United Arab Emirates, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in an interview with a newspaper in Abu Dhabi.

Manturov told newspaper The National that Russia is in discussions with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala investment company to invest in building a hub in Cuba for flights to Latin America. Russia is ready to invest $200 million in the project, Manturov said Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Mubadala told The National: "The company is regularly reviewing a number of different investment opportunities with its Russian partners."

Manturov added that if the project goes forward, Cuba may provide a rail link from the airport to the nearby seaport of Mariel, where Havana has established a special economic zone to attract foreign investment.

Russia's interest in investing in Cuba comes amid a larger pattern of courting Latin American countries in the face of Western sanctions over Moscow's role in the conflict in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin made Havana the first stop on his tour of the South American continent last summer, where he wrote off the majority of Cuba's $32 billion debt to the Soviet Union. Under Moscow's new terms, Cuba must now pay Russia $3 billion in 10 years time.

Cuba has historically denied that it owes Russia any money, asserting that the nation and currency it was indebted to disappeared in 1991 with the Soviet Union's collapse.

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