Russia's president unveils deal with Cuba to wipe out billions of dollars of old Soviet debt to help boost relations with its Cold War ally. Paul Chapman reports
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Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Havana has proved extremely good for Cuba.
After talks with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro Putin unveiled a deal to write off 32 billion dollars of old Soviet debt.
That's 90 per cent of the total. He said the other ten per cent would be reinvested in Cuban development projects.
The deal is in defiance of a 52-year-old U.S. economic embargo.
(SOUNDBITE)(Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYING:
"We will continue to lend help to Cuba against the illegal and illegitimate blockade of the United States on Cuba."
Putin's trying to boost relations with Cuba with which Russia had close ties during the Cold War.
Russia is still one of Communist Cuba's biggest export partners.
The two countries are looking to finalise a deal for oil exploration off Cuba's north coast.
Putin left Havana on Friday after meeting former Cuban president Fidel Castro.
His trip came at a time when the West is putting Putin under pressure to help rein in pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine
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