A Russian Submarine and Frigate Visit Havana – Now Let the Panic Begin

According to a press release by the Cuban foreign ministry, a Russian nuclear submarine, frigate, and two support ships will pay a port call in Havana between June 12 and June 17. The Cubans cited “historically friendly relations” between Cuba and Russia and assured us that the Russian ships don’t carry nuclear weapons, and they do not “represent a threat to the region.”

This deployment is part of a planned exercise in the Caribbean involving Cuba and Venezuela. It is a prelude to a series of exercises this autumn that allegedly will span the globe. More Russian ships and aircraft are expected to arrive in the Caribbean over the summer.

The ships involved are the Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov guided missile frigate. the Kazan, a Project 885 Yasen-class guided missile submarine, a fleet oiler, and, ominously, the salvage tug “Nikolai Chiker.” 

The Russian exercise is kicking off as NATO assembled over 50 ships and 9,000 personnel for the BALTOPS 24 exercise in the Baltic. Even though the Russians are trying to make this Putin’s “we’re here, we’re queer, we’re coming for your children” moment by not announcing the exercise, there is no evidence that anyone cares. The Russian ships have been tracked since they sortied from their homeport and they haven’t entered US waters.

Some are portraying this as Vladimir Putin’s “asymmetrical” response to many Western nations, including the US, allowing Ukraine to use Western weaponry against military targets on Russian soil. It is actually a lot less than that.

The deployment of Russian naval combatants to Havana is not new. Russian ships have deployed to the Caribbean since 2008 and annually from 2013 through 2020. The last visit of a Russian Navy ship to Havana was the Perekop, a Smolnyy-class training ship that visited in July 2023

.Most importantly, even though the Cubans are probably lying about the absence of nuclear weapons (I can’t imagine sending a nuclear-capable submarine on an extended cruise without some nukes aboard), this flotilla poses no threat to the US or any other country. 

I have no doubt that the usual suspects will have a case of the squirts over this and try to convince everyone that this shows how powerful Russia is; it is much more likely a flag-showing expedition to buck up shaky allies after the Black Sea Fleet was driven from its homeport in Sevastopol by a nation that doesn’t have a functioning navy. 

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