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Russia deploys air and maritime assets for military exercises in the Caribbean

  • June 6, 2024
  • 6 Min
  • 3
russia-deploys-air-and-maritime-assets-for-military-exercises-in-the-caribbean

Russia is preparing to deploy warplanes and ships to the Caribbean to conduct military exercises in the coming weeks. This will be the first time in five years that exercises involving both air and sea activities will take place in the Western Hemisphere, a senior US administration official told McClatchy and the Miami Herald on Wednesday (June 5).

The Biden administration has expressed no concern about the deployment, saying it poses “no direct threat to the United States.” However, the administration believes Moscow intends to use the exercises as a “communications tactic” after President Joe Biden last week gave Ukraine authorization to use U.S.-made weapons to fire at across its border in order to defend its territory.

According to the official, the administration expects Moscow to “conduct increased naval and air activity near the United States,” which could include warship stops in Cuba, and possibly Venezuela — two allies of Russia’s long-standing assets which have seen occasional visits by Russian naval assets over the past two decades. The exercises could also include “aircraft deployments” and flights in the region, the official added.

Administration officials suspect Cuba approved the Russian port stop “at least in part” because of an incident last year, when a U.S. nuclear submarine docked at the Guantanamo naval base Bay, angering Cubans, a second U.S. official said.

Russia sent ships to the Western Hemisphere every year from 2013 to 2020 and carried out flights in the region that violated the airspace of U.S. allies. But the anticipated activity would be the first such coordinated air and sea exercise since 2019, under the Trump administration, the official noted.

“We expect that, predictably, the Russians will intensify the information space with this, both to make a point and to destabilize us,” the official said. “We’re not particularly concerned. It’s something they’ve already done. It’s communication for the Russians.”

“This is a way for Russia to show that it is still capable of a certain level of naval power projection,” the official added. “We should expect more of this activity in the future.”

Moscow did not inform the Biden administration of the maneuvers. “The ships, of course, are observable, so they don’t really need it,” the official said. Biden administration officials briefed members of Congress about the Russian deployments earlier Wednesday.

The U.S. Navy is closely monitoring Russian movements, the official added, and will adopt “the necessary posture to track and monitor” their activity as the exercises unfold.

The administration anticipates that Russian maneuvers in the Caribbean will culminate with global naval exercises in the fall, which will include additional activity in the region, as well as throughout the Pacific.

“Their stops in the Western Hemisphere are less frequent,” the official noted.

“They’re less frequent, of course, because Russia has limited capacity for this type of sustained power projection. And so, that’s a factor. But it’s something they do, and clearly, they are unhappy — needless to say — with our support for Ukraine and our support for our NATO allies.”

“We are monitoring this closely,” the official added. “We’re trying to get ahead of that.”

With Miami Herald

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Gazette Haiti