Russian nuclear-powered submarine arrives in Cuba

By AFP
June 13, 2024
The Kazan submarine in Havana harbor.— AFP/file

HAVANA: A Russian nuclear-powered submarine and other naval vessels arrived in Cuba on Wednesday for a five-day visit to the communist island off Florida´s coast in a show of force amid spiraling US-Russian tensions.

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The submarine Kazan, which Cuba says is not carrying nuclear weapons, was accompanied by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, as well as an oil tanker and a salvage tug.

Russia´s defence ministry said in a statement that prior to entering the Havana port, the fleet “completed an exercise on the use of high-precision missile weapons.”

The unusual deployment of the Russian military so close to the United States -- particularly the powerful submarine -- comes amid major tensions over the war in Ukraine, where the Western-backed government is fighting a Russian invasion.

“We of course take it seriously, but these exercises don´t pose a threat to the United States,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told journalists.

The port call coincided on Wednesday with a meeting in Moscow between Cuba´s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, as the two former Cold War allies further tighten their links.

During the meeting, Rodriguez expressed his government´s “rejection of the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) towards the Russian border,” which he said “led to the current conflict in Europe, and especially between Moscow and Kyiv,” according to a Cuban foreign ministry statement.

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