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Putin To Begin Latin American Tour With Stop In Cuba

Russian President Vladimir Putin begins a six-day tour of Latin America on July 11 with a visit to Havana, where he will hold talks with Cuban leaders, including 87-year-old former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Putin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on July 10 that the Russian president intends to sign a law writing off 90 percent of Cuba's $35 billion debt to Russia.

Putin will also visit Argentina, which Ushakov said "shares our judgment" over the crisis in Ukraine, amid Moscow's showdown with the West over the annexation of Crimea and its perceived support for pro-Moscow separatists in the country's east.

Between July 13-16, Putin will be in Brazil, where he will take part in a summit of the BRICS grouping of emerging powers -- Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

He may also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel when both leaders attend the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AP