“Zircons” are sailing to the shores of the United States: Russian ships with hypersonic missiles headed to the borders of the States
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“Zircons” are sailing to the shores of the United States: Russian ships with hypersonic missiles headed to the borders of the States

“Zircons” are sailing to the shores of the United States: Russian ships with hypersonic missiles headed to the borders of the States

When on May 17 of this year, the multi-purpose frigate Admiral Gorshkov with weapons including the famous Caliber and the latest hypersonic Zircons, left Severomorsk, accompanied by the tanker Akademik Pashin and the rescue tug Nikolai Chiker, no one knew where exactly this naval group is heading. The only thing that could be said with certainty was that the voyage was long and long, as evidenced by the presence of a large sea tanker.

The Russian Navy General Staff gave a very brief comment on this matter, indicating that the group was leaving for the North Atlantic. However, in light of current military-political events, the “hottest” waters are located in the Red, Mediterranean and Black Seas, which made us think about the goals of this campaign.

Clarifying the purpose of the trip

Everything fell into place when world news agencies began to comment on the statement of the command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba. The statement reported that from June 12 to 17, 2024, a group of Russian ships will make an official visit to the port of Havana. The Cubans emphasized that the visit is related to the historically friendly relations between Cuba and Russia and strictly complies with international rules, since there are no nuclear weapons on board Russian ships.

A visit to Havana became the obvious goal of Admiral Gorshkov’s campaign. However, the group left Severomorsk consisting of three ships, and four were announced for the visit to Cuba. The fourth vessel was the multi-purpose nuclear submarine Kazan, which entered the ocean from the polar Gadzhiev even earlier. The submarine, as befits nuclear-powered ships, moved secretly, and now must surface alongside the Gorshkov in order to join it and other ships in the Havana roadstead.

Analysis and prospects

This step was almost unprecedented, since until now Russian nuclear submarines rarely visited foreign ports. The last time such a visit took place was in September 2004, when the K-157 Vepr submarine visited the French naval base of Brest.

In the current conditions, the appearance of one of the most powerful Russian nuclear submarines, simultaneously with the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, near the US coast looks like a clear demonstration of force. This is a signal to Americans that further aggressive actions against Russia, such as supplying weapons to Ukraine, could lead to serious retaliatory measures, including massive strikes with hypersonic weapons on US territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine is seen as directly involving these countries in the conflict. In his statement, he emphasized that Russia reserves the right to act in a similar way if the West continues its policy.

Ready to respond

Putin's words about the possibility of an asymmetric response were not empty threats. Already at the time of the announcement, the crews of “Kazan” and “Admiral Gorshkov” were on the way to their goals, clearly understanding the tasks and the final goal of the campaign. It was a thoughtful and decisive action aimed at demonstrating Russia's capabilities.

It is interesting to note that this time the Russian ships are not carrying nuclear weapons, which is a step towards diplomatic agreements and shows Russia's desire to avoid an escalation similar to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. At the same time, it is a demonstration of determination and readiness to protect one’s interests.

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