US Attack Sub and Canadian Navy Ship Arrive in Cuba Amid Russian Naval Presence

 June 15, 2024

This week, the waters near Cuba became a focal point of international naval power.

The simultaneous arrival of military vessels from Canada, the U.S., and Russia in Cuban waters has intensified discussions about renewed Cold War-like tensions, especially in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Reuters reported that the Canadian Navy's HMCS Margaret Brooke entered Havana on Friday, aligning almost concurrently with the U.S. submarine Helena's docking at Guantanamo Bay.

Preceding their arrival, Russian warships, including the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan and the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, had anchored in Havana after missile training sessions in the Atlantic. Both North American nations described their visits as routine, contrasting Cuba's reserved reaction and Russia's dismissive comments toward Western concerns.

Naval Movements Spark Diplomatic Stir

While Canada emphasized the ordinary nature of its naval visit, Cuba's foreign ministry voiced unwelcome feelings towards the U.S. submarine's appearance.

Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío articulated Cuba's concerns, stating that such naval visits were typically at the behest of the host nation, which was not the case here. The U.S. Southern Command, however, maintained that their submarine's stop was long-planned and part of regular operations.

The Canadian diplomat reinforced the routine aspect of their ship's presence, distinguishing it from the geopolitical implications of the Russian presence. Russia, maintaining its historical ties with Cuba dating back to the Soviet era, played down the strategic implications of its naval deployment.

Tensions Echo Cold War Sentiments

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova echoed Russia’s dismissive stance towards Western scrutiny. She critiqued the selective focus on Russian military activities and questioned the intent behind the heightened interest.

As soon as it comes to exercises or sea voyages, we immediately hear questions and a desire to know what these messages are about. Why do signals related only to our army and navy reach the West?

The geopolitical choreography of these naval deployments underpins a complex tableau of international relations and military posturing, particularly amidst the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

The convergence of these naval forces in Cuban waters, historically a flashpoint of U.S.-Soviet tensions, underscores a global ratcheting up of strategic displays of strength.

The Russian fleet is anticipated to remain in Havana until Monday, concluding what has been a conspicuous week of military presence in the region. Meanwhile, both the Canadian and American governments continue to stress the routine nature of their vessels' respective dockings despite the Cuban government's discomfort with the U.S. submarine.


The arrival of the Canadian HMCS Margaret Brooke, the U.S. submarine Helena, and the Russian warships Kazan and Admiral Gorshkov in Cuban waters has drawn diplomatic attention and stirred memories of past Cold War confrontations. Despite assurances from the involved Western nations of routine operations, the timing and proximity of these naval vessels have sparked a notable international discourse on current and historical geopolitical tensions.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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