The Cuban president has backed Russia's efforts to counter the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Iran PressAmerica: "Cuba will join Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to counter NATO expansion to the east," Miguel Díaz-Canel said on Saturday.

Diaz-Canel also referred to US hostile actions against Cuba, saying that Washington had recklessly imposed an economic and trade blockade on Cuba during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Russia-NATO relations have been strained in recent years, especially after the Ukraine crisis in 2014.

According to Moscow officials, NATO is acting to escalate tensions without regard to Moscow's wishes and interests; in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, NATO member states in Eastern Europe have stepped up their renewal and deployment of troops, particularly in the Baltic and the Black Sea regions. The issue has provoked widespread protests in Moscow.

Another issue that has always been criticized by Moscow is NATO's continued efforts to move toward the east and bring Central and Eastern European countries into its fold, including Russia's neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia sees NATO's eastward expansion as a threat to its national security and blames NATO's approach to expanding its military alliance for escalating tensions.

In recent years, Western countries have sought to exert increasing political and military pressure on Moscow to further contain and weaken Russia. 219