Watch CBS News

Russian military exercises in the Caribbean: Here's what to expect

Russian warships arrive in Cuba for drills
Russian warships arrive in Cuba to conduct military drills 04:07

Three Russian ships and a nuclear-powered submarine arrived in Cuban waters Wednesday ahead of military exercises in the Caribbean. While the exercises aren't considered a threat to the U.S., American ships were deployed to shadow the Russians, U.S. officials told CBS News.

The Russian warships were seen arriving in Havana's harbor on Wednesday morning and were expected to stay in Cuba until Monday. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday the U.S. was closely monitoring the Russian ships.

"We have seen this kind of thing before and we expect to see this kind of thing again," Sullivan said.

The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that the submarine is nuclear powered but it isn't carrying nuclear weapons, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported. White House national security spokesman John Kirby told CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe last week that there was no indication nuclear weapons would be "at play" during the vessels' time in the Caribbean.

What Russian ships are in Cuba?

According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the three Russian ships are a frigate, a fleet oil tanker and a salvage tug. The three ships and the submarine headed across the Atlantic separately, Martin reported.

The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arrives at Havana's harbor, June 12, 2024.
The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arrives at Havana's harbor, June 12, 2024. Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images

Russia has used the frigate, the Admiral Gorshkov, to test its Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, according to the Reuters news agency.

Two American destroyers and two ships that tow sonar equipment behind them were shadowing the submarine, Martin reported. Another destroyer and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter were shadowing the three Russian ships. The U.S. Navy also used little sailboats fitted with cameras, known as sail drones, to shadow the Russian ships as they got close to Cuba.

The Admiral Gorshkov and the submarine carried out drills in the Atlantic that simulated a missile strike on enemy ships, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov takes part in an exercise on the use of high-precision weapons in the Atlantic Ocean, in this still image from video released June 11, 2024.
The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov takes part in an exercise on the use of high-precision weapons in the Atlantic Ocean, in this still image from video released June 11, 2024. Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via Reuters

While the Russian ships are in Cuba, the U.S. Navy ships shadowing them are expected to wait for the Russians and continue shadowing them when they leave port, Martin reported.

The ships' arrival in Havana — which the Cuban Foreign Ministry said was expected to include the fanfare of one Russian ship firing 21 salvos in a salute to Cuba — comes ahead of Russia carrying out air and naval exercises in the Caribbean in the coming weeks, Martin reported.

The exercises, which will include long-range bombers, will be the first simultaneous air and naval maneuvers Russia has carried out in the Caribbean since 2019, Martin reported. The exercises will be conducted over the summer, culminating in a worldwide naval exercise in the fall.

"Clearly this is them signaling their displeasure about what we're doing for Ukraine," Kirby told O'Keefe. "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 ships are expected to head to Venezuela after Cuba, but it's unclear what the submarine will do, Martin reported.

The Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kazan and the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arrive at Havana's harbor, June 12, 2024.
The Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kazan and the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arrive at Havana's harbor, June 12, 2024. Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images

What was the Cuban missile crisis?

The events in the Caribbean are different from the Cuban missile crisis that happened over 60 years ago. The 1962 crisis unfolded after the U.S. discovered launch sites in Cuba for Soviet ballistic nuclear missiles.

Over the course of 13 days, the crisis brought the Soviet Union and the U.S. dangerously close to nuclear war. A potential conflict was averted when the Kennedy administration reached a deal with the Kremlin for the missiles to be removed from Cuba.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news