HAVANA: A Russian nuclear-powered submarine — which will not be carrying nuclear weapons — will visit Havana next week, Cuba’s communist authorities said on Thursday.

The nuclear submarine Kazan and three other Russian naval vessels, including the missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, an oil tanker and a salvage tug, will dock in the Cuban capital from June 12-17, Cuba’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces said in a statement.

“None of the vessels is carrying nuclear weapons, so their stopover in our country does not represent a threat to the region,” the ministry said.

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.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month for the annual May 9 military parade on Red Square outside the Kremlin.

During the Cold War, Cuba was an important client state for the Soviet Union. The deployment of Soviet nuclear missile sites on the island triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Washington and Moscow came close to war.

Relations between Russia and Cuba have become closer since a 2022 meeting between Diaz-Canel and Putin.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2024

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