Russia may be awaiting a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis, but we wouldn't hold our breath especially with the deposed president Yanukovich set to conduct a press conference tomorrow from Russia's Rostov-on-Don at 5pm local time, where we hardly anticipate a scaling back of the escalation in what is sure to not be an abdication from power. Instead, Putin continues to prepare for the worst and is openly signalling to the West that if he has to fight to regain influence in the Ukraine, he will, as a top Kremlin politician warned last week. As such it was not surprising to read that two Russian warships, the Minsk and the Kaliningrad which last week were sent out on deployment around Syria, crossed back into the Black Sea, most likely in direction Sevastopol, as the build up of Russian forces in the Crimea continues.
From Bosphorus Nabal News:
Today, two Ropucha class landing ship from Russian Navy passed through Bosphorus returning from their Syrian deployment. As the political crisis in Ukraine particular in Crimea is increasing it is possible that Russian Navy wanted these valuable assets closer to home.
And in other more perplexing news, AFP reported that a Russian warship was docked in Havana Wednesday, without explanation from Communist Cuba or its state media. "The Viktor Leonov CCB-175 boat, measuring 91.5 meters (300 feet) long and 14.5 meters wide, was docked at the port of Havana's cruise ship area, near the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
The Vishnya, or Meridian-class intelligence ship, which has a crew of around 200, went into service in the Black Sea in 1988 before it was transferred seven years later to the northern fleet, Russian media sources said.
Neither Cuban authorities nor state media have mentioned the ship's visit, unlike on previous tours by Russian warships.
The former Soviet Union was Cuba's sponsor state through three decades of Cold War. After a period of some distancing under former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, the countries renewed their political, economic and military cooperation.
The ship is reportedly armed with 30mm guns and anti-aircraft missiles.
The Mail adds that The intelligence vessel bristles with electronic eavesdropping equipment and weaponry, including AK-630 rapid-fire cannons and surface-to-air missiles.
Why is Russia planting a spy ship in the US backyard? It might have something to do with John Kerry's earlier admonition that the US is now behaving like a "poor nation" - maybe Russia decided to test just how poor?