28 February 2014, 20:15

Russia's warship in predominantly US region in tense times is luck - military analyst

Russia's warship in predominantly US region in tense times is luck - military analyst

The Russian military ship "Viktor Leonov" came into Havana Bay for an unannounced visit. A number of western media have labeled it "a display of military strength during a period of turmoil in Ukraine" calling the seacraft "spy-ship". Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian journalist and military analyst, explained in an interview with the Voice of Russia why he thinks the act can't be qualified as "a display of military might".

What's your take on Viktor Leonov ship docking in terminals of Havana port?

It is not really a display of military might, it is hardly can be qualified as that because indeed this is an intelligence gathering ship actually gathering electronic intelligence and, of course, it has some weapons on board, but that is for self-defense, it is not combat ship per se. It is hard also to imagine that it was sent because of the situation in Ukraine, the meltdown of the Yanukovich regime in Kiev happened rather unexpectedly and ships don't fly, it takes time to cross the ocean. But more frankly it is rather lucky to have it there right now since the Russians about ten years ago closed down the Russian spot near Havana and having a ship there to monitor military activity by the Americans at the time of real tension- so that is why they have it there.

So I understand this is Vishnya class sea craft, it is described as intelligence ships. You just mentioned what could be potentially spying on in Cuba. Obviously like you say this has nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine or displaying a military strength, but could you comment on the reaction in the Western media, why did that visit evoke such a bluster?

Russians have time to time duedock in Havana and in most cases that is announced – they do some excursions on board by locals. But, of course, this being an electronics surveillance ship, it is not intended for anyone to go on board unauthorized. So that is why the visit is not announced, again because it is an intelligence ship. It belongs to the Russian military intelligence. So I don't think that this unannouncement is that sinister, it just reflects the nature of this ship and its mission. Of course it monitors military and sometimes non-military electronic activities and in the region almost exclusively American. 

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