What are Russian warships doing in the Caribbean?

U.S. forces are conserving shut watch on a flotilla of Russian warships that reached Cuba on Wednesday in an obvious present of pressure by President Vladimir Putin flexing his missiles in the Western Hemisphere.

The port name in Havana, Moscow’s longtime ally, comes lower than two weeks after the Biden administration stated it could enable Ukraine to make use of U.S.-provided weaponry towards some army targets inside Russia.

The 4 Russian vessels arrived in Havana Harbor contemporary from army workout routines in the North Atlantic Ocean, Russia’s Defense Ministry stated. They’re because of keep by way of Monday.

The ships aren’t carrying nuclear weapons, the Cuban and Russian overseas ministries have stated, “so their stop in our country does not represent a threat to the region,” Havana stated final week.

Here’s what that you must know.

Russia practiced launching high-precision missiles in the Atlantic after Biden stated Ukraine might use U.S. weapons in Russia.

The Russian flotilla consists of the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, a medium tanker and a rescue tugboat. Even with out nuclear weapons, the frigate and the submarine are able to launching Zircon hypersonic missiles, Kalibr cruise missiles and Onyx anti-ship missiles, Russia’s most extremely touted trendy weapons.

Several hours earlier than getting into the Havana harbor, Russian protection officers stated, the flotilla accomplished an train in “the use of precision missile weapons.” Sailors used laptop simulations to “hit” targets with out launching precise missiles.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met together with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla. Lavrov affirmed Russia’s “continued support for Havana in its just demand for a complete and immediate end” to Washington’s 62-year embargo on most commerce with Cuba and the removing of the nation from the State Department’s checklist of state sponsors of terrorism.


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The go to got here on Russia Day, when Russians mark the dissolution of the Soviet Union. State tv highlighted in depth protection of the occasion in the U.S. media, together with clips from CNN. One Russian reporter described the go to as retaliation for Biden’s resolution to permit Ukraine to strike inside Russia with American weapons.

“Last week, President Vladimir Putin made it clear that it reserves the right for a mirror response — that is, supplying long-range weapons to countries that feel the pressure of the United States,” the Russia 24 reporter stated.

Cuba, mired in its worse financial disaster in years, is welcoming its longtime supporter.

Cubans lined the Havana waterfront Wednesday to see the Russian ships arrive. The Russians fired 21 salvos in honor of their hosts; the Cubans responded with an artillery salute from the San Carlos de La Cabaña Fortress.

Cuba’s overseas ministry stated the go to displays “the historical friendly relations” between Havana and Moscow, ties that return to Soviet help for Cuba’s communist authorities and buy of sugar, rum and different commodities. Cuba is presently mired in a dire financial disaster, together with shortages of meals, electrical energy and gas, harking back to the so-called Special Period of the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed and help from Moscow sharply dropped.

Cuba emerged from years of deprivation with the help of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and improved relations with Russia below Putin. Lavrov stated Wednesday that Moscow would proceed to offer humanitarian help to Cuba.

The Russian overseas ministry thanked Cuba for its “principled position” on Ukraine. Rodríguez Parrilla, the Cuban overseas minister, stated the nation condemns “the increasingly aggressive stance of the U.S. government and NATO,” together with sanctions towards Russia.

Lavrov has been a frequent customer to the area. He traveled in February to Venezuela, the place he affirmed Russia’s help for the socialist authorities of Nicolás Maduro, Chavez’s successor. He stopped in Cuba throughout that journey additionally.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited Putin in Moscow in May.

The United States doesn’t see a risk, however is monitoring the go to.

The U.S. Defense Department has been monitoring the Russian go to to Cuba because it was introduced June 6. U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels are “going to continue to monitor,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh stated Wednesday. ABC News reported that three U.S. Navy destroyers, a Coast Guard Cutter and Canadian and French frigates were keeping watch.

Singh stated the Russian workout routines didn’t pose a risk to the United States.

“This is not a surprise,” she stated. Such “routine naval visits” by the Russians, she stated, have occurred “during different administrations.”

A spokesman for U.S. Southern Command stated the group routinely screens “activities of concern” close by. Authorities anticipate that the Russian vessels may additionally go to Venezuela. Maduro’s authorities, additionally below heavy sanction by the United States, has scheduled a presidential election for July.

Retired Adm. Jim Stavridis, who headed Southern Command from 2006 to 2009, stated naval deployments to the Caribbean are “long and difficult” for Russian forces, and supply “good practice for our forces, tracking and monitoring them.”

Putin is exhibiting he ‘still has the ability to operate in the U.S. sphere of influence.’

Russian forces have made a number of visits to Cuba and Venezuela in current a long time. In 2018, Moscow despatched two supersonic, nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela for a quick cease. The subsequent 12 months, as the Trump administration stepped up efforts to oust Maduro, Russia dispatched 100 troops and tools to Venezuela and signed an settlement permitting it to ship ships.

Of course, the most well-known Russian go to to the area got here in 1962, when the U.S. discovery of Soviet missile websites in Cuba introduced the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev resolved the two-week Cuban missile disaster peacefully with an settlement that every facet would withdraw missiles deployed close to the different and that they’d set up direct communications — the so-called crimson phone — to forestall comparable crises in the future.

Videos now of a Russian submarine arriving in Cuba, political scientist Vladimir Rouvinski stated, assist Moscow present that “efforts by the United States to diminish their presence everywhere, in particular in Latin America, are not working.”

“We have to see that Russia is not willing to abandon Latin America,” stated Rouvinski, of Icesi University in Colombia, at the same time as its army is consumed by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin goals to sign that “he still has the ability to operate in the U.S. sphere of influence,” stated Cynthia Arnson, a distinguished fellow at the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program.

The United States phases comparable workout routines close to Russia and China.

The United States has an extended historical past of deploying the Navy and different forces to show its vary and capabilities in help of allies and towards adversaries.

In May, the Destroyer USS Halsey carried out what the Navy referred to as a “Freedom of Navigation Operation” to problem “restrictions on innocent passage imposed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, and Vietnam.”

A spokesperson for China’s Eastern Theater Command accused the United States of having “publicly hyped” the ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait, the Associated Press reported. Chinese Navy Senior Capt. Li Xi stated the command despatched naval and air forces to observe.

Last 12 months, the destroyer USS Nitze and the amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney made separate port calls to Istanbul on the Bosporus. That’s roughly 20 miles from the Black Sea, the place Ukraine has used sea drones and missiles to assault a Russian fleet.

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