News / Americas

    Russian Spy Ship Makes Surprise Visit to Havana

    An American classic car passes in front of the Russian spy ship The Viktor Leonov SSV-175 docked in Havana's harbor, Feb. 27, 2014.
    An American classic car passes in front of the Russian spy ship The Viktor Leonov SSV-175 docked in Havana's harbor, Feb. 27, 2014.
    Reuters
    A Russian spy ship slipped into Havana Bay for an unannounced visit during a period of turmoil in Ukraine and displays of military strength elsewhere in the world.
     
    The Viktor Leonov SSV-175, part of the Vishnya class of intelligence ships, quietly entered Cuban waters earlier this week and was docked at a cruise ship terminal on Thursday, its crew casually taking in the view of the old colonial section of the Cuban capital as passers-by gawked.
     
    Russian warships have come and gone in Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union, usually with much publicity and the opportunity for Cubans to visit the ship. This time there was no mention in the Cuban state-run media.
     
    Russia has been stung by recent unrest in Ukraine, where a pro-Russian government was ousted in favor of one seeking an alliance with the West, and where Russia has a major naval base near Sevastopol on the Black Sea.
     
    Russia on Wednesday put 150,000 troops on high alert in Central and Western Russia, including areas bordering Ukraine, in a show of strength. Moscow denied the drill was linked to events in Ukraine.
     
    On Wednesday in Moscow, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia planned to increase its military projection abroad, including in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
     
    The Russian Navy intelligence vessel in Havana was commissioned by the Soviet Union in 1988 near the end of the Cold War, outfitted with electronic surveillance equipment and missile defense systems and is a signals intelligence asset of the Russian Navy, according to the Russian government.
     
    The 94-meter (309-foot) ship was receiving food, but no maintenance or fuel, port employees said.
     
    A Russian embassy official described the visit as “friendly,” saying members of the crew joined Havana officials in laying a wreath at a monument to Soviet soldiers.
     
    “It was scheduled to stay three or four days. It should leave tomorrow,” said the embassy spokesman, who declined to identify himself.
     
    The former Soviet Union and communist-run Cuba were close allies for decades, and the Soviets built a major intelligence base on the outskirts of Havana that was closed soon after the demise of European communism.
     
    During the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, two U.S. ships including the USS Mount Whitney sailed into the Black Sea as part of U.S. security measures.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    More Americas News

    Pope Francis Holds Mass in Gritty Mexico City Suburb

    Ecatepec city lies in populous state of Mexico, region plagued by warring drug cartels and infamous for spate of disappearances of women

    Haitian Lawmakers Choose Jocelerme Privert as Interim President

    Privert said after the vote he hopes to lead a government that will 'foster confidence within all sectors of society'

    Mexico Accuses Prison Officials of Homicide after Brutal Riot

    Warden, two others detained following one of deadliest prison riots in Mexico's history last week; ‘Who is directly responsible? ... The director of the penitentiary,’ state prosecutor says

    Pope Tells Mexican Leaders to Provide 'True Justice'

    Pontiff warns nation's president, lawmakers against permitting privilege for an elite class at the expense of the rest of society

    More than 5,000 Pregnant Colombian Women Infected With Zika Virus

    Total number of people diagnosed in Colombia has reached 31,555, the National Health Institute says in its Epidemiology Bulletin, among them 5,013 pregnant women

    Pope-Patriarch Meeting Seen by Russians as Significant

    Meeting in Havana on Friday between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill was the first between the two church's leaders