Lavrov attacked the US during his visit to Latin America

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was outraged by Western "blackmail, ultimatums and threats" against countries like his homeland Russia and their ally Cuba, where he began his tour of Latin America, AFP reported.

Lavrov, who will also visit Venezuela and Brazil, where a meeting of G20 foreign ministers is being held, told his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez in Havana that both countries were victims of "illegal pressure" by the US and its allies.

"The realities of the multipolar world ... are provoking an aggressive reaction from the US and other world minority countries, which by all means want to maintain their dominance, hegemony, and dictate," he said.

"The means used by representatives of the United States and other Western countries for this purpose do not include diplomacy, but blackmail, ultimatums, threats, the use of brute force and sanctions."

The US has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba since the revolution led by Fidel Castro six decades ago and imposed tough sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

"Cuba knows firsthand what illegal pressure is: a total embargo that only the US defends as a legitimate course of action," said Lavrov, who is on his ninth visit to Cuba - the second in a year.

"This is unacceptable for all other members of the world community. But that does not stop Washington," he added.

Since 2022, Russia and Cuba have strengthened ties, with an increasingly isolated Moscow seeking new diplomatic and trade partners.

In November 2022, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel traveled to Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

And in April 2023, Díaz-Canel assured Moscow of Cuba's "unconditional support" in its "clash with the West." Cuba has never criticized Russia's attack on its neighbor.

Cuba, which has been under a US embargo since 1962, is facing its worst economic crisis in three decades and has received Russian oil to ease a crushing fuel shortage.

As they work to restore ties, the allies have signed cooperation agreements in construction, information technology, banking, sugar, transport, and tourism.

According to Russian data, trade with Cuba will reach $450 million in 2022, with 90% of that amount being oil and soybean oil sales to Havana.

In September of last year, Cuba announced that it had made arrests in connection with the alleged trafficking of its citizens to fight for Russia in Ukraine.

Since then, no information has been released about the investigation.

Lavrov will meet Diaz-Canel before traveling to Venezuela on Tuesday and then to Brazil for the G20 summit. /BGNES