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AP: Russian warships, including nuclear sub, will arrive in Havana next week

Citing “historically friendly relations,” Cuba said it will host Russian naval vessels, including a nuclear submarine, in Havana harbor next week.
Russian navy ship.
Russian navy ship. Credit: CNN World
AP: Russian warships, including nuclear sub, will arrive in Havana next week

Cuban officials announced on 6 June that four Russian ships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, are scheduled to arrive in Havana next week, citing “historically friendly relations” between the two nations.

According to the Associated press, the Cuban foreign ministry’s news release stated that the ships would be in Havana between 12 June and 17 June.

Cuban foreign ministry stated that none of them [ships – ed.] will carry any nuclear weapons and assuring their presence ‘does not represent a threat to the region.’

The development comes after US officials reported tracking Russian warships and aircraft expected in the Caribbean for a military exercise, which they described as “part of a broader Russian response to the US support for Ukraine.”

While acknowledging the notable Russian military presence, US officials stated it was “not concerning.” However, the timing coincides with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion of “asymmetrical steps” elsewhere in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to allow Ukraine to use US-provided weapons to strike inside Russia.

According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the vessels en route to Havana are the frigate Gorshkov, the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, the fleet oil tanker Pashin, and the salvage tug Nikolai Chiker.

Russia and Cuba relations

  • During the Cold War, the Soviet Union provided significant economic aid, military support and advisory personnel to Cuba after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution in 1959. This cemented very close ties between the two nations.
  • In 1962, the Soviet Union deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis – a dramatic confrontation with the United States that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war before the missiles were removed.
  • After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian-Cuban relations cooled for some time as Russia cut back its economic subsidies to Cuba.
  • However, under Vladimir Putin, Russia has worked to rebuild closer political, economic and military cooperation with Cuba in recent years.
  • In 2014, Russia forgave around 90% of Cuba’s Soviet-era debt of over $35 billion.
  • Russia has provided new economic support and investments in Cuba’s energy, transportation and other sectors.
  • Regarding military ties, Russia has repaired and upgraded Cuban weaponry and equipment left over from Soviet times.
  • There are reports that Russia is considering reopening the former Soviet spy base in Lourdes, Cuba, which was closed in 2001.

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