US Is Shadowing Russian Warships Heading to Cuba

Three Russian ships and a nuclear-powered submarine are due to arrive in Cuba on Wednesday and will hold drills in the Caribbean

The US Navy and Coast Guard are shadowing three Russian warships and a nuclear-powered submarine that are due to arrive in Cuba on Wednesday and will conduct military drills in the Caribbean Sea.

A US official told CBS News that two US Navy destroyers and two ships that tow sonar equipment are shadowing the submarine, while another destroyer and a US Coast Guard cutter are following the three Russian warships, which include a frigate, a fleet oil tanker, and a tugboat.

The US ships will follow the Russian vessels to Cuba and wait for them to depart and will continue to shadow them during the drills in the Caribbean. A US official said the drills will be the first simultaneous air and naval maneuvers Russia has carried out in the Caribbean since 2019.

Both the frigate and the submarine are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but Cuban officials said they would not be armed with nuclear weapons. US officials said they assessed that as well.

The Pentagon framed the Russian deployment as “routine” and said it doesn’t pose a threat to the US. A Russian Navy ship docked in Havana last year, and according to Newsweek, Russian naval visits to Cuba happened every year from 2013 to 2020.

But the White House has also acknowledged that the deployment could be related to US involvement in Ukraine, which has significantly escalated in recent weeks as President Biden has given Ukraine the green light to strike Russian territory with US missiles.

“Clearly, this is them signaling their displeasure about what we’re doing for Ukraine,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told CBS. “So we’re going to watch it, we’re going to monitor it, it’s not unexpected. … But we don’t anticipate, we don’t expect that there’ll be any imminent threat or any threat at all, quite frankly, to American national security in the region, in the Caribbean region, or anywhere else.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov conducted live-fire drills in the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Cuba. The Admiral Gorshkov is armed with advanced hypersonic missiles.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.