Leading Soviet newspapers and journals are closing their offices in Cuba because of the cost of maintaining operations in Havana, the official Tass news agency reported Thursday.

Tass said both the trade union daily Trud and the strongly pro-reform Komsomolskaya Pravda - which has published critical articles on the administration of President Fidel Castro - closed their Havana bureaus over the past few days.Others, including the radical weekly New Times and the monthly Latin America, would follow suit later, the agency said. In the past two years, New Times reports on Cuba have been bitterly criticized by the Havana authorities.

Soon after Castro took power in 1960, most Soviet newspapers opened offices in Havana.