A Russian warship has sailed into Havana Bay for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko steamed in from the Straits of Florida, greeted by cannon-fire from an old Spanish fort at the mouth of the bay.At just 140 kilometres from the US coast, it was a clear flexing of military muscle aimed at Washington, and a display to the world that relations with its Cold War ally Cuba have become warmer. Some analysts believe the visit is the Kremlin signalling its unhappiness with America, for its plans to build a missile defence system in eastern Europe, and its support for Georgia after the summer’s conflict.
Soviet warships were a common sight around Cuba during the Cold War. In 1962, tensions were stretched to the limit when the Soviets transported missiles there, sparking a crisis that brought the superpowers to the brink of war.