Canada navy ship, US attack sub dock in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

A Canadian Navy patrol ship sailed into Havana early on Friday, just hours after the United States announced a fast-attack submarine had docked at its Guantanamo naval base in Cuba. This came shortly after Russian warships docked on the island earlier this week, in a jarring reminder of old Cold War tensions and strained ties between Russia and Western nations amid the war in Ukraine.

Russian Marines standing on top of the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kazan (R), part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP)(AFP)

While the confluence of Russian, Canadian and US vessels in Cuba came one after the other in a very close time frame, both the US and Cuba have said the Russian warships pose no threat to the region. Further, Russia characterized the arrival of its warships in allied Cuba as routine.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, half submerged with its crew on deck, sailed into Havana harbor on Wednesday after conducting “high-precision missile weapons” training in the Atlantic Ocean, Russia’s defence ministry said.

Canada’s patrol vessel, the Margaret Brooke, commenced manoeuvres early Friday to enter Havana harbour. According to the Canadian Joint Operations Command, this visit is a gesture to acknowledge the enduring bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba.

This development came hours after the US Southern Command stated that the fast-attack submarine Helena arrived on a routine port visit to Guantanamo Bay, a US naval base on the tip of the island around 850 km southeast of Havana.

Cuba’s foreign ministry said it had been informed of the arrival of the U.S. submarine but was not happy about it. “Naval visits to a country are usually the result of an invitation, and this was not the case,” said Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío.

“Obviously we do not like the presence in our territory (of a submarine) belonging to a power that maintains an official and practical policy that is hostile against Cuba,” the ministry said in its statement.

Russia and Cuba were close allies under the former Soviet Union, and tensions with Washington over communism in its “backyard” peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Moscow has maintained ties with Havana.

(With inputs from Reuters)

News / World News / Canada navy ship, US attack sub dock in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

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