- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New sanctions imposed upon Russia aren’t deterring Vladimir Putin from reactivating an old Soviet-era spy base in Cuba that has been closed since January 27, 2002.

A deal has been struck between Russia and Cuba to open a signals intelligence facility in in Lourdes, just south of Havana. The base is just 155 miles off the U.S. coast.

“Lourdes gave the Soviet Union eyes in the whole of the western hemisphere … For Russia, which is fighting for its lawful rights and place in the international community, it would be no less valuable than for the USSR,” Vyacheslav Trubnikov, the former head of the nation’s foreign intelligence service, told the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the Guardian reported Wednesday.

The Cold War-era base, which opened in 1967, will reportedly be reactivated due to a deal Mr. Putin reached July 11. The Kremlin is said to have forgiven $32 billion in outstanding Cuban debt in exchange for the reopening of the spy facility, the Guardian reported.

Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based defense analyst, told the paper that the decision was a “PR move” by the Russians to give America the “middle finger.”

The analyst said that the ability to gather intelligence on the U.S. government these days would be limited due to improvements in technology since the Cold War, but that the secrets of private companies might be vulnerable “because when individuals chatter they’re not always so attentive of secure lines.”

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