Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the strong ties and «many years of friendship» between Russia and Cuba while speaking at a press conference alongside Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Moscow on Friday. «Our peoples have strong ties of many years of friendship, mutual sympathy, respect and solidarity. The joint statement we just signed confirms the strategic, allied nature of... Еще relations between our countries,» the Putin said. The Russian president also touched on trade between the two countries, and noted that bilateral trade increased by 17 percent by the end of 2017. Putin also stated he, together with the Cuban president, had instructed the intergovernmental commission «to develop concrete measures to increase reciprocal commodity flows and expand investment cooperation.» Diaz-Canel said that the meeting was «very special» for Cuba, and that it «represents the continuation and the permanent strengthening of ties of the relations between Cuba and Russia.» The Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel arrived in Moscow on Thursday for a three-day state visit — his first as President of Cuba.