Russian President Vladimir Putin kicked off his six-day Latin-American tour with a ninety-minute meeting with revolutionary leader and ex-president of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
Putin is hoping to develop commercial ties as well as invest in energy projects in the country.
He also attended round table talks with current President Raul Castro and other dignitaries.
Ahead of the visit Russia announced it would write off 90% of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt; something Putin reiterated during his visit.
“I want to emphasise that we’re creating new conditions for development between both countries,” he said, “Which is why I have made the decision to forgive the old debt of the Soviet Union with Cuba to the value of $35 billion. We’re going to forgive 90 percent of this total and use the remaining ten percent for investment projects in education.”
It is a move that could rile the US, which levied an economic embargo on the communist country in 1962.
Putin’s tour is seen by some as an effort to counter Western world dominance as Russia faces isolation over its actions in Ukraine.