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Russian Nuclear-Powered Submarine Arrives in Cuba

The Kazan submarine in Havana harbor. Adalberto Roque / AFP

A Russian nuclear-powered submarine and other naval vessels arrived in Cuba on Wednesday for a five-day visit to the island in a show of force amid spiraling U.S.-Russian tensions.

The submarine Kazan, which Cuba says is not carrying nuclear weapons, was accompanied by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, as well as an oil tanker and a salvage tug.

The Kazan and Admiral Gorshkov, which is one of Russia's most modern warships, could be seen just off Havana, which is about 90 miles from the southern coast of Florida.

The tanker Pashin and the tug entered the harbor early Wednesday morning, an AFP reporter said.

Cuba's communist government announced that Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, as the two former Cold War allies aim to strengthen their ties. 

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month for the annual May 9 military parade on Red Square outside the Kremlin.

Cuba was an important client state for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The deployment of Soviet nuclear missile sites on the island triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 when Washington and Moscow came close to war.

Relations between Russia and Cuba have become closer since a 2022 meeting between Diaz-Canel and Putin.

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