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Commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy Alexander Moiseyev confirmed to Sputnik yesterday that the Russian Navy task force will arrive in Havana, today. “On [June] 12, the squadron of military ships of the Northern Fleet [will enter Cuban ports], it is public information, it is true, I confirm,” he said. “It is done under the auspice of the international partnership program between Russia and Cuba.” He clarified that visiting Cuba was only one of the tasks of the naval expedition. The task force includes the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and nuclear powered attack submarine Kazan.

Yesterday, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement reporting that the Gorshkov and the Kazan carried out missile firing drills in the North Atlantic. “As part of the exercise, the frigate and nuclear-powered submarine missile cruiser practice the use of high-precision missile weapons by computer-based maritime simulation at targets indicating the ship-based groupings of a mock enemy and located at a distance of more than 600 km,” the statement said. It did not identify the strike systems involved. It noted that earlier, the Gorshkov “conducted a training exercise to repel the air attack.”

Both the Gorshkov and the Kazan are capable of carrying the Zircon hypersonic missile, but there’s no report as to whether those missiles were loaded on board either vessel for their Atlantic mission.

The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, shadowed the other two ships in the task force, the Russian Navy’s heavy ocean-going tug Nikolai Chiker and the oiler Academik Pashin, as they made the passage between the east coast of Florida and the Bahamas early yesterday. In addition to P-8 patrol aircraft overhead, the destroyers USS Truxtun and Donald Cook, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Stone and the Canadian frigate HMCS Ville de Québec were all involved in the operation. Where the Gorshkov and the Kazan were is not clear, however.