Russian warships en route to Cuba hold missile drills in Atlantic

Soldiers are seen on a Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov in Richards Bay, South Africa, Feb. 21, 2023. A Russian frigate and a submarine conducted missile drills en route to Cuba, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

Soldiers are seen on a Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov in Richards Bay, South Africa, Feb. 21, 2023. A Russian frigate and a submarine conducted missile drills en route to Cuba, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday. (Rogan Ward, Reuters)


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MOSCOW — A Russian naval frigate and a nuclear-powered submarine conducted missile drills in the Atlantic Ocean while en route to Cuba, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

The drills by the submarine Kazan and the warship Admiral Gorshkov involved firing high-precision missiles at mock enemy targets from a distance of more than 370 miles, it said in a statement.

The Admiral Gorshkov also conducted training in recent days to repel an air attack, the ministry said.

The vessels are among a group of four Russian warships that are due to arrive in Cuba on Wednesday. Cuba said last week that such visits were standard practice by naval units from countries friendly to Havana and that the ships carried no nuclear weapons and did not present a threat to the region.

The trip will nevertheless be closely watched by the United States at a time of acute tension with Russia over the war in Ukraine.

The United States does not see the move as threatening, but the U.S. Navy will monitor the exercises, a U.S. official told reporters last week.

"This is about Russia showing that it's still capable of some level of global power projection," the official said.

The Admiral Gorshkov has been used by Russia to test and deploy its Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles and took part in joint exercises with the Chinese and South African navies in 2023.

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Mark Trevelyan

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