View Full Version : Report: Russia Mulls Sending Bombers To Cuba

07-22-2008, 11:27 AM
Report: Russia mulls sending bombers to Cuba


(Gold9472: The Cuban Missile Crisis Part II brought do you by the Bush Administration.)

Agence France-Presse
Published: Tuesday July 22, 2008

Russia may start regular flights by long-range bombers to Cuba in response to US plans to build missile defence sites in Eastern Europe, the newspaper Izvestia reported Monday, quoting an official.

"Such discussions exist," the unidentified senior Russian air force official was quoted as saying, adding that the measure would be a response to the United States "deploying missile defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic."

It was not clear whether he meant permanently basing the bombers in Cuba or using the island as a refuelling stop, but former top defence ministry official Leonid Ivashov told the newspaper that Cuba was best used for brief stopovers.

Cuba should be used "not as a permanent base -- this is unnecessary -- but as a stopover airfield, a refuelling stop," Ivashov was quoted as saying.

Spokesmen for the air force and the defence ministry declined to comment about the report to AFP.

Starting long-range bomber flights to Cuba would signal a reawakening of military cooperation by former Cold War allies Moscow and Havana. In 2002 Russia closed its last military base on the island, a radar base at Lourdes.

Plans to fly long-range bombers to Cuba "would be a good answer to attempts to place NATO bases new Russia's borders," former top air force commander Pyotr Deinekin told the RIA Novosti news agency in response to the Izvestia report.

In a speech last year, then president Vladimir Putin likened the US missile defence dispute to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, though he added that relations between Moscow and Washington "have changed a lot" since then.

The discovery in 1962 that Moscow was secretly building nuclear missile launchpads in Cuba pushed the world close to nuclear war in a terrifying two-week brinkmanship between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Moscow would take countermeasures against US plans to build an anti-missile radar facility in the Czech Republic and site interceptor missiles in Poland.

Russia argues that the installations threaten its national security despite US assurances that they are directed against "rogue states" like Iran.

07-22-2008, 02:59 PM
US general warns Russia on nuclear bombers in Cuba



Russia would cross "a redline for the United States of America" if it were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba, a top US air force officer warned on Tuesday.

"If they did I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America," said General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force's chief of staff.

He was referring to a Russian news report that said the military is thinking of flying long-range bombers to Cuba on a regular basis.

It was unclear from the report whether that would involve permanent basing of nuclear bombers in Cuba, or just use of the island as a refueling stop.

In his confirmation hearing to become the air force's chief of staff, Schwartz was asked what he would recommend if Russia were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba.

"I would certainly offer the best military advice that we engage the Russians not to pursue that approach," he said.

The newspaper Iszvestia on Monday cited an unnamed senior Russian air force official in Moscow as saying that Russia may start regular flights by long-range bombers to Cuba in response to US plans to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the Russian report because there had been no "official response from the Russian government."

But US President George W. Bush told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev just two weeks ago that the planned US missile shield poses no threat to Russia, spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"The president repeated that our missile defense system should not be seen as a threat to Russia, we want to actually work with the Russians to design a system that Russia, and Europe and the United States could work on together as equal partners and we'll continue to do that," she said.

Starting long-range bomber flights to Cuba would signal a reawakening of military cooperation by former Cold War allies Moscow and Havana, and recall the 1962 missile crisis that brought Washington and Moscow to the brink of war.

"We seek strategic cooperation with the Russians. We want to work with them on preventing missiles from rogue nations like Iran from threatening our friends and allies," said Perino.