Putin Raises Cuban Missile Crisis as Russia Ships Near U.S.

Putin Raises Cuban Missile Crisis as Russia Ships Near U.S.

Saturday, 08 June 2024

By James Morley III

Russian President Vladimir Putin is aiming to “invoke the historical memory of the Cuban Missile Crisis” by moving nuclear capable war ships into the waters of the Caribbean, according to an assessment published Thursday by a U.S. think tank.

Earlier in the week it was revealed that Moscow would be sending several Russian ships and support vessels into the Caribbean for a military exercise. The Admiral Gorshkov frigate, the Kazan nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine, the Academic Pashin replenishment oiler, and the Nikolai Chiker rescue tub are the four vessels scheduled to arrive in Cuba early next week.

The ships are expected to make a port call in Havana between June 12 and 17 before heading south to Venezuela later in the month. The U.S. think tank Institute for the Study of War quoted the Russian Ministry of Defense, which stated the objective of the naval exercise is to ensure a Russian naval presence in “operationally important areas of the far ocean.”

Having Russian ships so close to the United States during a time of heightened global tension has observers drawing parallels to the Cuban missile crisis.

In 1962, Nikita Khrushchev, premier of the USSR, put the world on edge when U-2 spy planes photographed Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba. The U.S. responded by establishing a naval “quarantine” to isolate Cuba and prevent Soviet ships from entering the waters around Cuba.

Putin’s actions to move ships from his Northern Fleet have raised eyebrows as to his long-term international strategy.

On Thursday, Putin spoke at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and made a point to mention Russia’s nuclear doctrine, saying, “We have a nuclear doctrine. Look what it says: If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider it possible for us to use all means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly, superficially.”

The assessment noted that Russia’s decision to visit countries with historically strained U.S. relationships, such as Cuba and Venezuela, is aimed to persuade the U.S. to “self-deter and not enact policies that offer further support to Ukraine.” On Monday, it was reported that Ukraine had used U.S. weapons to strike targets inside Russia, which senior officials claim was used for the purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.

James Morley III 

James Morley III is a writer with more than two decades of experience in entertainment, travel, technology, and science and nature.