The White House sees no “significant national security threat” in the exercises around the island Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov. © Sputnik

A group of Russian warships, including a nuclear-powered submarine, will pay an official visit to Cuba next week, Havana’s Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces has announced.

In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said that a total of four Russian vessels, including the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, oil tanker Pashin, and rescue tug Nikolay Chiker, will visit the island from June 12-17.

“None of the ships carries nuclear weapons, so their stopover in our country does not pose a threat to the region,” the officials said, adding that the visit to the island, which is around 140km off the coast of the US, “corresponds to the historically friendly relations between Cuba and the Russian Federation and strictly adheres to the international regulations.”

According to the ministry, the Russians will conduct a program of activities during their stay, including courtesy visits to the head of the Revolutionary Navy and the governor of Havana, and visits to places of historical and cultural interest. When the group arrives at the Port of Havana, one of the ships will fire a 21-gun salute, the statement added.

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Commenting on the announcement, White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby told CNN that while the US will closely follow the visit, it does not anticipate “any significant national security threat as a result of these exercises.” He went on to suggest that the visit – which he described as “not typical” but pre-scheduled – could be Moscow’s signal to Washington that it is “unhappy” with its efforts to support Ukraine.

US Senator Marco Rubio warned that the Russian exercises “should be a wake-up call to the Biden administration.”

“Our adversaries are dangerously close to our shores, and we must be prepared to defend the homeland from military and hybrid threats in our hemisphere,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

In 1962, Cuba became the arena of a major missile crisis that brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. At the time, Moscow stationed nuclear weapons on the island in response to the deployment of American nuclear weapons in Türkiye, and to deter a potential US invasion of Cuba.

The Russian Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the visit, but in late May, it said that a group of warships from the Northern Fleet had set out for the Atlantic on a “long-distance expedition.” It stated that “the main goals of the expedition are to show the flag and ensure the naval presence in operationally important areas of the Far Sea zone.” (RT)