- A Russian flotilla has visited Cuba, among other places, in an effort to expand its international naval presence
- It was probably the first time in over a decade that more than a couple of Russian naval vessels have made such a voyage
A group of Russian naval vessels led by the Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov docked in Havana, Cuba, on 24 June as tensions between Moscow and Washington, as well as between Washington and Havana, continue. Although Russian vessels occasionally visit the Caribbean state, they are mostly single ships rather than a small fleet.
Admiral Gorshkov is one of the Russian Navy's most modern ships; commissioned in July 2018, it can fire 3M55/P-800 Oniks and 3M14 Kalibr surface-to-surface missiles and is equipped with the Poliment-Redut air-defence system. Also part of the flotilla were the Project 23120 logistic support ship Elbrus and the seagoing rescue tug Nikolai Chiker (the tanker Kama also briefly joined them). The flotilla, which belongs to the Northern Fleet, previously docked in Djibouti, Sri Lanka, China, and then Ecuador on 11 June, before transiting the Panama Canal to reach the Caribbean. US Northern Command dispatched the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Jason Dunham (DDG 109) to monitor the Russian flotilla.
Previous visits by Russian ships to Cuba have included the intelligence vessel Viktor Leonov in March 2018 as well as the Project 1154 frigate Yaroslav Mudryy and a tanker in 2016. The last time a larger group of Russian ships visited Caribbean waters was probably in 2008, when the Kirov-class missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy and Udaloy II-class destroyer Admiral Chabanenko , along with support vessels, visited Cuba and Venezuela.
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