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Russian warships head to Cuba for military exercises

(NewsNation) — Several Russian warships, including a nuclear-powered vessel are set to arrive in Cuba on Wednesday for military exercises.

The drills come after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he could arm allies to fight against Western countries like the U.S. that support Ukraine.

The military exercises will take place off the coast of Cuba and will continue into next week. They will involve the whole fleet from the Russian Navy, including a nuclear-powered submarine, an oil tanker and a tugboat, along with other military ships.

The drills have gotten the attention of the U.S. government, which says it will be closely monitoring the activity.

Cuba’s government has already come out and said the exercises present no threat to the region and that no nuclear weapons will be used at any point during the drills.

In a statement, the Cuban government wrote, “This visit corresponds to the historical friendly relations between Cuba and the Russian Federation.”

Russia will also be holding similar drills off the coast of Venezuela soon after the ones in Cuba even as tensions continue between Russia and the U.S.

The U.S. recently gave Ukraine’s military permission to use American-made weapons inside Russia to help defend Kharkiv, which is the second largest city in Ukraine, angering Putin.

In response, Putin threatened an “asymmetric response,” threatening to arm U.S. foes with long-range weapons, though he did note that he did not believe the situation had risen to the point of using nuclear weapons yet.

The drills are likely an effort by Putin to show off Russia’s naval power, especially after the Ukrainian military reported successfully targeting and hitting one of Russia’s best fighter jets over the weekend. That happened about 400 miles within Russia, a result of the new policy granting Ukraine permission to strike within the country.

As this is happening, the United States military is also participating in a series of military drills in the Baltics. BALTOPS 24 includes more than a dozen NATO allies and involves more than 100 military planes and ships and 9,000 personnel.