US and Russia Submarine Proximity in Cuba Creates Tensions

( – Russian warships have spent several days docked in Cuba amid growing tensions with the US. Among the fleet was the Kazan, a nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine with advanced stealth and striking capacity, and the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles. Both vessels have previously prompted concern from American and NATO military officials, and the US said it had closely monitored them as they engaged in exercises in the Atlantic.

Moscow said the US has no reason for unease about the visit to Cuba, adding that the West is “deaf” to Russian diplomatic efforts and engages only with hostility when its military is involved.

Amid concerns that Russia may have transferred missiles to the island of Cuba, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the anxiety is misplaced, and there is no evidence of any weapons transit. Nevertheless, he insisted that US intelligence was alert and observing events. The reason for the Russian stop-off is unclear, but some analysts believe Moscow intended to display its strength to the United States.

The five-day visit ended on June 18, and the vessels pulled away to applause and locals waving Russian flags. Some media reports indicate that the Kazan is not in good shape, with witnesses citing crumbling infrastructure at the ship’s hull. Marketing consultant Marijn Markus shared photos of the submarine on social media and said it seemed that the soundproofing panels were “falling off.” He added that he saw a hole in the mid-section and Russian divers underwater, presumably making repairs.

Military experts, however, stated that the photos reveal only minor problems that would not impact the vessel’s military capabilities. Richard Kouyoumdjian Inglis of the Chilean Navy said soundproof panels are rubber and can easily fall away, adding that not enough was missing from the Russian submarine to make any discernible difference.

It is unclear where Moscow’s fleet will visit next, but analysts speculate they may make their way to Venezuela.

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