Two Russian military aircraft have been sent to deliver food and personal protective equipment to Cuba, the Russian Defence Ministry said Saturday.
"At Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin's request, military transport aircraft are delivering humanitarian aid to Cuba. Two An-124 Ruslan aircraft of the Russian Defence Ministry took off from the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow to their destination. The aircraft will deliver food, personal protective equipment and more than 1 million medical masks to Cuba. More than 88 tonnes of cargo in total", the ministry said.
In July, Cuba was hit by a massive protest, largest since 1994, resulting in multiple casualties and arrests. With years of shortages of basic goods, including food, and an economic decline in the background, people were angered by the way the government handled the COVID-19 response and persecuted critics. Thousands took to streets to demand free elections and social order. In response, the government deployed security forces across the country and halted communications, including the internet.
On Thursday, the United States imposed a new round of sanctions on Cuba, targeting the Cuban military and the interior ministry over the crackdown of the recent protests.