What are Russian warships doing within the Caribbean? | EUROtoday

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

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

The 4 Russian vessels arrived in Havana Harbor recent from navy workout routines within the North Atlantic Ocean, Russia’s Defense Ministry stated. They’re as a consequence of keep by means 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 you have to know.

Russia practiced launching high-precision missiles within 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 fashionable 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 along 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 within 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 assist for Cuba’s communist authorities and buy of sugar, rum and different commodities. Cuba is at the moment mired in a dire financial disaster, together with shortages of meals, electrical energy and gas, paying homage to the so-called Special Period of the early Nineteen Nineties, when the Soviet Union collapsed and assist from Moscow sharply dropped.

Cuba emerged from years of deprivation with the assist of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and improved relations with Russia beneath Putin. Lavrov stated Wednesday that Moscow would proceed to supply humanitarian assist 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 assist 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 have been maintaining 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 displays “activities of concern” close by. Authorities anticipate that the Russian vessels may also go to Venezuela. Maduro’s authorities, additionally beneath 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 displaying 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 many years. In 2018, Moscow despatched two supersonic, nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela for a short cease. The subsequent yr, because the Trump administration stepped up efforts to oust Maduro, Russia dispatched 100 troops and gear to Venezuela and signed an settlement permitting it to ship ships.

Of course, essentially 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 opposite and that they might set up direct communications — the so-called pink phone — to forestall comparable crises sooner or later.

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, whilst its navy 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 on the Wilson Center’s Latin America Program.

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

The United States has a protracted historical past of deploying the Navy and different forces to exhibit its vary and capabilities in assist of allies and towards adversaries.

In May, the Destroyer USS Halsey performed 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 getting “publicly hyped” the ship’s transit by means of the Taiwan Strait, the Associated Press reported. Chinese Navy Senior Capt. Li Xi stated the command despatched naval and air forces to observe.

Last yr, 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.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/12/russia-navy-ships-florida-cuba-caribbean/