HAVANA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua/Sun) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will continue to expand relations with countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

"We highly appreciate the constructive line of the ALBA States related to the international issues; we share their fidelity to the principles of a fair and democratic world order," Putin said in a message to Cuban leader Raul Castro on the occasion of an ALBA summit in Havana on Sunday.

ALBA was founded in 2004 by then Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The bloc, which aims to counter U.S. influence in the region, groups Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Cuba and Venezuela. Granada and St. Kitts and Nevis joined the bloc at the current summit.