Cuba: Russian Naval Ships And Nuclear Powered Sub To Visit Cuba This Week

(Photo by ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:35 PM – Monday, June 10, 2024

As part of its “historically friendly relations,” a number of Russian naval ships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, will visit Cuba this week, the country’s administration announced last week.

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According to the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, the Russian “frigate Gorshkov, the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, the fleet oil tanker Pashin, and the rescue tug Nikolai Chiker” will visit the port of Havana between June 12th and June 17th.

Cuba maintains that the ships’ visit does not pose a threat to the area and that none of them are carrying nuclear weapons.

“Visits by naval units from other countries are a historical practice of the revolutionary government with nations that maintain relations of friendship and collaboration,” the statement added.

Russian Navy ships had previously been dispatched to Cuba, a crucial Cold War ally that temporarily housed nuclear missiles at Moscow’s request during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Russian Navy’s training class ship Perekop arrived in Havana for a four-day visit in July of 2023.

Cuba, a communist-run nation going through its greatest economic crisis in decades, is becoming more and more dependent on Russian aid and energy.

Cuba made its declaration a few days after U.S. President Joe Biden authorized Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to launch limited strikes within Russian territory. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, warned that “supplying weapons to a conflict zone is always a bad thing” on behalf of Western nations.

“In the end, if we see that these countries become involved in a war against us, what they are doing makes them directly involved in a war against the Russian Federation, we reserve the right to act the same way,” Putin said last week on Wednesday.

As a response, “we will improve our air defense systems to destroy the missiles,” Putin added.

The Russian president also asked why his country would “not have the right to supply our weapons of the same class to those regions of the world where there will be strikes on the sensitive facilities of those countries that are doing this against Russia?”

According to the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon, Russia’s military is anticipated to step up its air and naval operations close to the United States this summer as part of usual preparations for a major international naval drill in the fall.

“Russia is likely to send combat naval vessels to the Caribbean, with potential port calls in Cuba and possibly Venezuela,” said Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz. “Aircraft deployments or flights in the region are also anticipated. These deployments are part of Russia’s routine naval operations and pose no direct threat to the United States.”

One of the Russian Navy’s Severodvinsk II-Class submarines will be stationed with the Russian ships this summer, according to Dietz. He went on to say that the approval of the port call for that submarine was “at least partly due to Havana’s displeasure” over the U.S. nuclear submarine’s visit to the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba the previous year.

According to Dietz, the Russian Navy “faces challenges in maintaining readiness and conducting deployments with an aging fleet,” and as a result, the exercises “impose a significant cost on the Russian Navy.” Cuba has hosted Russian ships annually between 2013 and 2020.

“Given Russia’s long history of Cuban port calls, these are considered routine naval visits, especially in the context of increased US support to Ukraine and NATO exercises,” Dietz added.

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