castro rally
© EPA/Ernesto Mastrascusa
About one million people gathered in the Cuban capital Havana on Wednesday night to pay their respects to Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, according to estimates by local security forces.

Formal delegations from about 50 states attend the event that started at 3:00 Moscow time outside the memorial to Cuban independence hero Jose Marti in Havana's Revolution Square. The service is led by the island nation's current leader Raul Castro.

The Russian delegation is led by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.

In his speech at the meeting, Volodin said that Russia and Cuba "will always be together."

"Your power and your faith have served as an inspirational example for many countries and peoples in the cause of the fight for freedom and the right to choose own path of development," Volodin told the crowd.

"Despite the distance that separates us, despite the problems that we face, we were, we are and we will be together," the lawmaker continued. "The ties established by our countries during these long years are priceless."

"The cause of the legendary comandante will live on, and friendship between Russia and Cuba will only grow stronger," he said.

Earlier in the day, Volodin laid a wreath to the memorial's wall and signed the book of condolence.

Fidel Castro, Cuba's revolutionary leader, died on November 25 aged 90. According to the politician's will, his body has been cremated.

Cuba declared 9 days of mourning as of November 26. Starting from November 30, Castro's ashes will go on a four-day procession from Havana to the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba, where it will be laid to rest on December 4.