Russian Naval Vessels Conduct Missile Drills in Atlantic En Route to Cuba
Russian Naval Vessels Conduct Missile Drills in Atlantic En Route to Cuba

Russian naval forces, including a frigate and a nuclear-powered submarine, have carried out missile exercises in the Atlantic Ocean as they journey towards Cuba, announced the Russian Ministry of Defence on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the ministry, the exercises involved the submarine Kazan and the warship Admiral Gorshkov, which fired high-precision missiles at mock enemy targets from a distance exceeding 600km (370 miles). Additionally, the Admiral Gorshkov conducted training to repel air attacks in recent days.

These vessels are part of a group of four Russian ships scheduled to arrive in Cuba on Wednesday. Last week, Cuba stated that such visits were a regular practice by naval units from countries friendly to Havana, emphasizing that the ships carried no nuclear weapons and posed no threat to the region.

Despite these assurances, the journey is being closely monitored by the United States, amid heightened tensions with Russia over its conflict in Ukraine. A US official informed reporters last week that while the US does not perceive the move as threatening, the US Navy will keep a close watch on the exercises.

“This is about Russia demonstrating its capability for global power projection,” the official remarked.

The Admiral Gorshkov is equipped with new Zircon hypersonic missiles, which are designed to arm Russian cruisers, frigates, and submarines, capable of targeting both sea and ground objectives. Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the Zircon as a formidable weapon that can evade existing antimissile defenses, flying at nine times the speed of sound with a range exceeding 1,000km (620 miles).

Accompanying the Admiral Gorshkov and the Kazan are two support ships during their visit to Havana, reflecting what Cuban officials described as “historically friendly relations” between Russia and Cuba.

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