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Russian Naval Vessel Docks in Cuba Amid Growing U.S.-Russia Friction

Moscow’s show of force in Havana underscores escalating geopolitical conflict

A group of Russian Navy vessels arrived in Cuba on Wednesday, showcasing Moscow’s military might amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

The fleet includes the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, a rescue tug, and an oil tanker. They entered Havana harbor with ceremonial firing from the Gorshkov and an 18th-century colonial fort. This five-day official visit underscores the ties between Moscow and Havana, according to CNN.

While docked, the Gorshkov will be open for public tours for four hours a day over three days. The U.S. does not believe the frigate is carrying nuclear weapons.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow have escalated recently due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The U.S. has provided billions in supplies, training, and weapons to the Ukrainian military.

Last month, the Biden administration reversed a major rule restricting Ukrainian use of U.S. weapons, allowing limited use in Russian territory.

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S.-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region, so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them,” a U.S. official stated. “Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of ATACMS or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded last week, warning that this policy change could lead to “very serious problems.”

“That would mark their direct involvement in the war against the Russian Federation, and we reserve the right to act the same way,” Putin said.

The U.S. previously blocked Ukraine from using U.S. weapons in Russian territory to avoid escalation. Recently, Russian units have increasingly threatened Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-most populated city before the war, which sits about 20 kilometers from the Russian border.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has advocated for Ukraine’s increased freedom with U.S. weapons.

“I think they should be allowed to hit the Russians in Russia,” McConnell said last month.

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