Russian Warships Dock in Havana, Miles From US Coast

A tug boat manoeuvres Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine Kazan as it docks in Havana’s bay, Cuba, June 12, 2024. (Reuters)
June 12, 2024

Four Russian Navy ships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, entered Havana harbor on Wednesday in a show of force just 100 miles from the Florida coast.

The detachment includes the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the submarine Kazan, both capable of launching long-range missiles, which the crew of the Gorshkov trained for en route to Cuba, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The ships operated just east of the Florida Keys before arriving in Cuba, USNI News reported.

The U.S. military expects the fleet could visit Venezuela, another U.S. adversary, after its stop in Cuba, according to the Associated Press. According to CNN, the Pentagon said Russian ships have docked in Cuba every year since 2013.

The visit comes a week after Russian president Vladimir Putin warned that Russia might supply weapons to the adversaries of Western countries that have supported Ukraine.

The U.S. Navy has responded to Russia’s military exercises by mobilizing ships to monitor the route taken by the Russian convoy. Air assets, including P-8 Poseidon "sub hunters," have reportedly been deployed to conduct surveillance operations. The Russian convoy has remained within international waters or the territorial waters of its allies.

A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters, "This is about Russia showing that it's still capable of some level of global power projection."

While the Pentagon has said the flotilla does not pose any threat to the United States, Russia's missile-capable frigates and submarines have been raised as a pressing security threat by defense experts including retired commander of U.S. Northern Command Gen. Glen VanHerck. VanHerck testified last year before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat of Russia and China's advancements in sea-launched missile capabilities requires the U.S. military to invest in "a modern force with the capacity and capability to deter and if required defeat advanced peer competitors."

Published under: Cuba , Russia