Tags: russian | spy | ship | havana | us-cuban | talks

Russian Spy Ship Docks in Havana Before US-Cuban Talks

By    |   Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 08:14 AM

A Russian spy ship which docked in Havana on Tuesday, a day before talks began between the United States and Cuba, was there legally and the visit was not out of the ordinary, according to U.S. officials.

The intelligence warship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 was docked at a pier in Old Havana where cruise ships are normally located, but the ship's presence was not announced by Cuban officials, noted wire service AFP.

"It's not unprecedented," an unidentified defense official told AFP about the ship's presence. "It's not unusual. It's not alarming."

The Viktor Leonov last visited Havana in February and March of 2014, staying a few days on each visit that were also unannounced. RT.com reported that the ship is part of Russia's Northern Fleet and has substantial intelligence equipment along with a crew of 220 personnel from Russia's Navy.


"In April, the ship was spotted operating along the U.S. East Coast, in close proximity to a nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, and other American military facilities in the area," reported RT.com on Wednesday.

"The Soviet Union and subsequently Russia used to have a huge signal intelligence center (SIGINT facility) in Cuba's Lourdes, located a mere 250 (kilometers) from continental USA. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied media reports that Russia was planning to reopen the SIGINT facility in Lourdes," noted RT.com.

The ship's arrival caused a stir as the U.S. delegation, which included assistant secretary of state Roberta Jacobson, sat down with a Cuban delegation on Wednesday to kick off talks between the two countries, according to Fox News.

The meetings are the highest-level talks between the two countries since 1980. Jacobson's office said the two days of meetings will include "technical and logistical arrangements such as embassy operations, staffing and visa processing," noted Fox News.

"This new conversation with Cuba is both an historic and important process that will advance U.S. interests," Jacobson's office said in a statement on her website Tuesday. "It will strengthen the United States' ability to advocate for positive change on the island. By facilitating the Cuban people's access to greater resources and information, the policy change seeks to engender greater respect for human rights and adherence to democratic principles in Cuba."

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A Russian spy ship which docked in Havana on Tuesday, a day before talks began between the United States and Cuba, was there legally and the visit was not out of the ordinary, according to U.S. officials.
russian, spy, ship, havana, us-cuban, talks
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2015-14-22
Thursday, 22 Jan 2015 08:14 AM
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