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US nuclear-powered submarine arrives in Guantanamo Bay a day after Russian Navy docks in Havana

<i>Yander Zamora/Anadolu/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>People watch a ship belonging to the Russian Navy flotilla arrive at the port of Havana on Wednesday
Yander Zamora/Anadolu/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
People watch a ship belonging to the Russian Navy flotilla arrive at the port of Havana on Wednesday

By Sam Simpson and Oren Liebermann, CNN

(CNN) — The USS Helena, a fast-attack nuclear submarine, surfaced in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a day after Russian naval forces arrived in Havana to conduct drills with the island nation, a Russian ally.

In a statement posted on X, US Southern Command said, “The fast-attack submarine USS Helena is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as part of a routine port visit as it transits the U.S. Southern Command geographic area of responsibility while conducting its global maritime security and national defense mission.”

The specific movements of Navy submarines are highly classified and are rarely disclosed publicly.

The Pentagon has reiterated the presence of the Russian flotilla, despite its being 90 miles from the coast of Florida, does not pose a threat to the security of the United States. Navy destroyers, as well as P-8 submarine hunting aircraft, tracked the movements of the Russian ships as they made their way south off the east coast of the United States.

“We’ve been tracking the Russians’ plans for this. This is not a surprise. We’ve seen them do this — these type of port calls before, and these are, you know, routine naval visits that we’ve seen under different administrations,” said Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh.

She added, “We’re always, constantly going to monitor any foreign vessels operating near US territorial waters. We of course take it seriously, but these exercises don’t pose a threat to the United States.”

The Norfolk-based USS Helena is a Los Angeles-class, fast-attack, nuclear-powered submarine, first commissioned in the 1980s. It is designed to surveil and respond to threats globally.

The USS Pasadena, another Los-Angeles class fast attack submarine, stopped in Guantanamo Bay last July, sparking furor from the Cuban government, which called it an escalation. The Pentagon said the current visit of a Russian submarine to Cuba was “at least in part” a response to last year’s visit of a US submarine.

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