Russian Surveillance Ship Spotted in Havana Ahead of Cuban-US Talks

A Russian surveillance ship has dropped anchor at Havana seaport, RIA Novosti reports. There has been no comment on the purpose of the visit to the Cuban capital of the Viktor Leonov, which previously moored there in February and March of last year.

The Viktor Leonov’s surprise visit comes ahead of Cuban-US talks slated to be held in Havana later today, Agence France-Presse reports.

A Pentagon representative said, meanwhile, that there was nothing unusual about the Russian ship’s arrival in Havana, and that it gave no cause for worry.

There has been no official comment from the Russian Defense Ministry available to RIA Novosti at this hour.

The Viktor Leonov briefly visited the Cuban capital in February and March of 2014 and those calls were not officially announced either.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, will visit Havana January 21-24 for talks to restore long-severed diplomatic relations between the two countries. The sides will discuss technical and material supplies, the embassy, diplomatic staff and visa processing issues. Roberta Jacobson is also scheduled to meet Cuban opposition figures, religious leaders and business representatives. The meetings will be preceded by a new round of bilateral talks on migration-related issues.

The Viktor Leonov, one of the Russian Navy’s seven Project 864 medium-class vessels, was built in Poland in 1988.  She was originally named “Odograf” and was part of the Black Sea Fleet. In 1995, she joined the Northern Fleet and in April 2004 was renamed Viktor Leonov. Her NATO codename is Vishnya. The vessel is armed with 30 mm cannons and air-defense missiles.

Articles by: Sputnik

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