Russia's Putin meets Cuban leader Raul Castro in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Thursday (May 7) with Cuban President Raul Castro, who arrived in Moscow for World War Two victory celebrations.

The leaders heartily greeted each other with a welcome hug and a handshake.

"I fondly remember my last trip to Cuba and the way you warmly greeted us," Russian leader said.

Raul Castro thanked Putin for the invitation.

"First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation for us to take part in such an important event of the anniversary of the great victory," Cuban president said.

The guest list for the military parade has come to embody Russia's place in the world as it struggles to avoid being isolated over the events in east Ukraine.

Since Western powers imposed economic sanctions on Russia last year, Moscow has accelerated attempts to build ties with Asia, Africa andSouth America, as well as warming up relations with its former Soviet-era allies.

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