Medvedev says Russia will find ways to help Cuba get oil

HAVANA, Oct 5th (Reuters) – Russia will find ways to help Cuba get oil and petroleum products, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview broadcast on Saturday.

Medvedev pledged to help develop Cuba’s energy sector during a visit to the island this week but did not announce any short-term measures to provide relief from crippling fuel shortages in the wake of tougher U.S. sanctions.

A flotilla of shipments from Venezuela gave Cuba some respite this week. But the support from two of its closest allies looks unlikely to resolve Cuba’s pressing fuel problems that have seen the government extend many of the energy-saving measures it has introduced over the past month.

“I think we will find other ways to help Cuba get oil and petroleum products,” Medvedev told Rossiya 1 TV when asked if Russian ships could escort oil tankers to Cuba.

“We discussed this today and agreed that we would draft a work plan for energy supplies to Cuba, bearing in mind conventional energy sources, hydrocarbons, and maybe some other available avenues,” he said.

Havana warned on Sept. 11 it had not secured sufficient shipments of refined fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, for the rest of the month due to sanctions imposed by the United States in retaliation for its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Cuba’s oil production currently meets an estimated 40% of its needs. Nearly all the rest has been supplied by Venezuela for years under a barter agreement for medical services.