Cuba and Russia have signed a series of accords

Cuba and Russia have signed a series of accords aimed at boosting bilateral ties, especially in trade. The agreements emerged at Havana talks between Cuban President Fidel Castro and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader joined his Cuban counterpart in condemning trade sanctions imposed by the United States on the communist island. Mr Putin's five-day visit to Cuba is the first by a Russian leader since the collapse of the Soviet Union, 10 years ago, ruptured relations between the two former allies. The Russian president has said he wants to forge a new relationship with the communist-ruled island. But the BBC correspondent in Havana says that will be difficult. Russia is no longer one of Cuba's major trading partners, and the thorny issue of Cuban debt to Russia, which Moscow estimates at $20bn, still has to be resolved.

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