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Russian military considers return to Cuba, Vietnam

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during the opening session of the newly elected State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. In his speech to members of the newly-elected lower house, Putin said the State Duma must help make Russia stronger. (Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via AP)
Alexei Nikolsky/Pool Photo via Associated Press/File
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

MOSCOW — The Russian military said Friday that it is considering the possibility of reopening its Soviet-era bases on Cuba and in Vietnam.

Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov told lawmakers the ministry is considering establishing new footholds far away from Russia’s borders.

In response to a lawmaker’s question on whether the military may return to Cuba and Vietnam, Pankov said it is ‘‘reviewing’’ a decision to withdraw from them, but didn’t offer any specifics.

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Russia withdrew from both countries more than a decade ago. In 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed the order to stay out of Cuba and Vietnam, as he sought to bolster ties with the United States.

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US-Russian relations have since plunged to the lowest point since the Cold War, amid disagreements over Syria and Ukraine.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry this week launched a nationwide civil defense drill involving involve 40 million people. The maneuvers evoked memories of the Cold War, when Soviet citizens were taught how to survive in case of a nuclear conflict

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Friday that the review of deployments in Cuba and Vietnam is being undertaken because the global security situation has become fluid.

Under the deal that ended the 1962 Cuban crisis, the Soviet Union withdrew its missiles on the island and pledged not to station offensive weapons.

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Russian military cooperation with Cuba ended in 2002 after Russia closed its radar base at Lourdes, Russia’s only intelligence-gathering center in the Western Hemisphere, which had been operating since the 1960s.