Putin's fleet of warships in Cuba is direct warning to Biden, experts say

A fleet of Russian warships entered Cuban waters on Wednesday as they prepare to hold military drills in the Caribbean.

The deployment is likely a warning to President Biden after he gave approval for Ukrainian forces to strike some targets within Russia using U.S. weaponry, according to Rebekah Koffler, strategic intelligence analyst and author of “Putin’s Playbook.” Russian President Vladimir Putin is telling Washington, “we can touch you,” Koffler said.

“Putin wants to be close to the U.S. homeland at this time when the Russia-Ukraine crisis is on a highly escalatory trajectory — given Biden’s authorization to Ukraine. If something goes wrong and Ukraine strikes critical targets in Russia close to major cities, the Russian military can enable the Cubans to strike targets inside the U.S. or strike U.S. interests,” she said.

Three Russian warships arrived at Cuba’s Havana Bay on Wednesday, greeted by a 21-cannon salute. A nuclear-powered submarine was also expected to arrive after them. Russia has said the submarine, the Kazan, is not carrying nuclear weapons.

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The frigate Admiral Gorshkov, part of the Russian naval detachment visiting Cuba, arrives at Havana’s harbor on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

The arrival of the ships comes after Putin suggested he may authorize strikes on the U.S. via proxy countries, which he says is precisely what the U.S. is doing in Ukraine.

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“Most of all, the warships are a reminder to Washington that it is unpleasant when an adversary meddles in your near abroad,” said Benjamin Gedan, director of the Latin America program at the Washington-based Wilson Center think tank. “It also reminds Russia’s friends in the region, including U.S. antagonists Cuba and Venezuela, that Moscow is on their side.”

The arrival of the ships comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested he may authorize strikes on the U.S. via proxy countries, which he says is precisely what the U.S. is doing in Ukraine. (Aleksey Babushkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo)

Putin made a direct threat to supply weapons to nearby neighbors of the U.S. last week.

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“If [the U.S.] considers it possible to deliver such weapons to the combat zone to launch strikes on our territory and create problems for us, why don’t we have the right to supply weapons of the same type to some regions of the world where they can be used to launch strikes on sensitive facilities of the countries that do it to Russia?” he asked.

President Biden approved Ukraine to use American missiles to hit targets on Russian soil at the end of May. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden approved Ukraine’s use of American missiles to hit targets on Russian soil at the end of May. Ukraine has suffered in the battle of attrition against Russian forces, failing to secure breakthroughs with counterattacks. Biden also approved Ukraine’s controversial Azov Battalion to use U.S.-provided weaponry. The battalion has neo-Nazi roots and has been central to Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Anders Hagstrom is a reporter with Fox News Digital covering national politics and major breaking news events. Send tips to [email protected], or on Twitter: @Hagstrom_Anders.

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