HAVANA — Russian President Vladimir Putin began a six-day Latin American tour aimed at boosting trade and ties in the region with a stop Friday in Cuba, a key Soviet ally during the Cold War that has backed Moscow in its dispute with the West over Ukraine.

The two countries signed about a dozen accords in areas such as energy, industry, health and disaster prevention. Russian companies will participate in petroleum projects around Boca de Jaruco on the island’s north coast, and that cooperation will extend to offshore oil deposits, Cuban government website Cubadebate said.

Another agreement covered infrastructure at a big new port project.

“We are talking about the possibility of creating in Cuba a grand transportation hub with a possible modernization of the maritime port of Mariel and the construction of a modern airport with its respective cargo terminal,” Putin said.

Moscow is also forgiving 90 percent of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt, which totals more than $35 billion. The remainder will be invested in education.

The countries on Putin’s itinerary have shown themselves to be sympathetic to Russia’s position on the Ukraine conflict: Nicaragua, Argentina and Brazil.

He is to be in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday for the World Cup final and ceremonial handover of host duties for the soccer tournament, which next takes place in Russia in 2018.