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Russian warships set to visit Cuba next week

Russia is sending a naval detachment to Cuba next week for military exercises that will likely exacerbate tensions with the U.S. amid the war in Ukraine.

Cuba’s military said in a Friday press release that the Russian naval vessels would visit the port of Havana from Wednesday to June 17.

The visiting Russian detachment includes a frigate, a nuclear-powered submarine, an oil tanker and a tugboat, according to Cuba.

“This visit corresponds to the historical friendly relations between Cuba and the Russian Federation,” Cuban officials said in the release, adding that the visit adheres to international regulations. “None of the ships carry nuclear weapons, so their stopover in our country does not represent a threat to the region.”

The Russian naval group will also visit Venezuela and participate in military exercises, according to U.S. officials who spoke to ABC News.

The deployment to the Caribbean is part of the Kremlin’s response to chilled tensions with the U.S. over the war in Ukraine, according to those officials, but also a demonstration of naval power after Ukrainian forces have repeatedly sunk Russian ships in the Black Sea and forced them out of the western part of those waters.

The upcoming naval deployment comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin told international journalists earlier this week he was considering providing weapons to nations hostile to the U.S. and Western allies, after Washington gave Ukraine permission to strike into Russia with American-made weapons to defend the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Source: The Hill