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U.S. Concerned Over Increased Activity of Russian Nuclear Submarines Near Its Coastline

U.S. media report that senior military officials are conducting an in-depth review to determine whether Russia's recent deployment of warships, including nuclear submarines, to Cuba marks the beginning of new activities involving state-of-the-art Russian nuclear submarines near its maritime borders.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Russia’s recent deployment of a flotilla of warships to its ally Cuba has largely been anticipated by the United States as usual military posturing by Moscow during heighten tensions, according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

 ” But this time, there’s a different element in the deployment of Russian warships to Cuba. For the first time, they included a nuclear submarine, the Yasen-class ‘Kazan’,” he said.

Sullivan referred to the deployment that featured the nuclear submarine alongside the frigate “Admiral Gorshkov,” the fuel supply ship “Pashin,” and the rescue tug boat “Chiker.”

The visit of Russia’s nuclear submarine to Cuba marks the first such occurrence since the end of the Cold War and signals Moscow’s intent to send a message to Washington amid ongoing U.S. support Ukraine including for the use of long-range missile on Russian soil.

Analysts noted that the deployment of the Yasen-class “Kazan” to Cuba also demonstrates the Russian nuclear submarine fleet’s capability to operate near U.S. coastal waters, a development of significant concern to U.S. security officials.

Yasen
“Yasen”-class submarine

 

Last month, the head of the U.S. Northern Command warned Congress that Moscow could deploy up to 12 modern nuclear submarines to the Pacific and Atlantic, posing a “persistent conventional threat” to the United States.

“Such threats are set to escalate soon as the Yasen-class submarines are frequently equipped with ‘Tsirkon’ hypersonic missiles,” said U.S. Air Force General Gregory Guillot as cited by national media.

U.S. media report that senior military officials are scrutinizing whether the Russian warships’ movements, including the submarines to Cuba, indicate a new pattern of activity near its maritime borders.

Should this suggest that Russian submarines will begin operating close to U.S. waters, it necessitates a military response, stated Sullivan.

Russian media claim that the appearance of the Yasen-class nuclear submarine in Havana shows it can approach U.S. shores undetected.

The submarine was reported to be just 30 miles (50km) off the U.S. coast, a proximity acknowledged by U.S. security officials.

Yasen
Russia’s Yasen-class submarine

 

The Yasen-class “Kazan,” commissioned in 2021 and renowned for its ‘super-quiet’ capabilities, was launched at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk after its construction started in 2009 and completed in 2017.

Since 2017, Russia’s newest submarine has undergone sea trials until its commissioning in 2021.

Among the four Russian naval vessels currently in Cuba, the presence of the 13,800-ton Yasen-class “Kazan” is “particularly noteworthy,” as it is among Russia’s most modern submarines, with Moscow having only commissioned it in 2021 following the earlier “Severodvinsk.”

Russia plans to include five to seven Yasen-class submarines in its fleet of attack submarines.

These submarines are considered by Western military observers as a “nightmare” for Washington and NATO allies due to their stealth capabilities, making them extremely difficult to detect, especially by the United States.

In 2018, the first Yasen-class submarine, “Severodvinsk,” operated in the Atlantic Ocean, and for several weeks, the U.S. Navy could not detect it despite deploying various assets, including its own submarines.

Kazan
Russia’s Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine “Kazan.”

 

The U.S. Department of Defense has admitted to failing to detect the Yasen-class submarine for weeks in the Atlantic.

Last year, senior U.S. Navy officials expressed concerns about the increased frequency of Russian nuclear-powered submarines in coastal waters, a sentiment echoed by Michael Peterson of the Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI), who noted significant signs of Russia boosting its nuclear-powered submarine deployments to U.S. coastal waters and beyond.

With an estimated fleet of 58 nuclear-powered submarines of various classes, Russia’s nuclear-powered underwater assets can be deployed globally, including to U.S. coastal waters.

In October 2022, the director of the US Northern Command and NORAD, General Glen VanHerck, issued a warning about the increased presence of “Severodvinsk” or Yasen-class submarines in U.S. coastal areas.

U.S. military officials have declared Russia as its most significant threat, stating, “They have just moved their submarines (Severodvinsk-class) to the Pacific.”

 

U.S. Naval Intelligence Office Commander Admiral Michael Studeman reported that the “Severodvinsk” or Yasen-class submarines are highly dangerous, noting, “These submarines are extremely modern and capable.

“They are very active,” adding that Russian submarines have begun patrolling European waters, thus endangering U.S. interests. — DSA

 

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