Russian Warship Docks In Cuba Amid U.S.-Russia Tensions

A group of Russian Navy vessels arrived in Cuba on Wednesday, a show of force by Moscow amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Russia.

The vessels – the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, a rescue tug, and an oil tanker – entered Havana harbor with ceremonial firing from the Gorshkov and an 18th century colonial fort. The vessels are on a five-day official visit to Cuba in a show of ties between Moscow and Havana, according to CNN.

While in the harbor, the Gorshkov will be open to tours for the Cuban public for four hours a day for three days, CNN reports. The U.S. does not believe that the frigate is carrying nuclear weapons.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow have risen in recent weeks over the ongoing war in Ukraine. The U.S. has supplied billions of dollars-worth of supplies, training, and weapons to the Ukraine military.

Last month, the Biden administration reversed itself on a major rule restricting Ukrainian use of U.S. weapons by allowing Ukraine limited use of U.S. weapons 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 said at the time. “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, saying the change in policy 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. had previously blocked Ukraine from using U.S. weapons in Russian territory to prevent escalation in the war and in tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Recently, Russian units have increasingly threatened Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-most populated city before the war. Kharkiv sits about 20 kilometers from the Russian border, allowing Russia space to prepare attacks on the city that Ukraine had problems preventing and combatting.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he has “consistently argued” for the administration to allow Ukraine more 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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