Russian Warships Dock in Havana Bay

Nuclear-capable vessels are included, though Cuba and US say the visit poses no threat
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2024 4:23 PM CDT
Russian Warships Dock in Havana Bay
Russia's Kazan nuclear-powered submarine arrives at the port of Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. A fleet of Russian warships reached Cuban waters on Wednesday ahead of planned military exercises in the Caribbean.   (AP Photo/Ariel Ley)

Cubans gathered at Havana's harbor Wednesday to welcome a Russian convoy of four warships and a nuclear submarine arriving for a five-day show of solidarity between Cold War allies. The frigate Admiral Gorshkov fired a 21-gun salute as it sailed in, CNN reports, which drew a response of cannon fire from an 18th-century colonial fort. Russia says the frigate and the Kazan submarine are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, per the BBC. But Cuba's foreign ministry says the convoy brought no nuclear arms, which concurs with the US assessment.

Russia plans air and naval drills in the Caribbean over the next few weeks for the first time since 2019, in a move seen as a show of force in response to US support for Ukraine. The warships ran through drills, including computer simulations to practice using high-precision missiles, in the Atlantic before reaching Cuba, Russian defense officials said. Two American destroyers and two ships towing sonar equipment shadowed the submarine en route, per CBS News. Small Navy sailboats with cameras followed the Russian ships as they neared Cuba. US planes also were deployed.

American officials, as well as Cuba, maintain that the presence of the Russian vessels poses no threat. In a statement, Russia's defense minister said the visit is an unofficial one, intended to let crews "rest and get acquainted with local attractions." The vessels are docked in spaces usually used by cruise ships. (More Russia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.