Canada Confronts Russian Navy in Cuba

By Dan Middlemiss, 19 June 2024

At the request of the Commander of Joint Operations Command and the head of the Canadian Navy, Minister of National Defence (MND) Bill Blair authorized a combined RCAF-Navy operation focused on Havana, Cuba, where five powerful Russian naval vessels, including the nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine Kazan and the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, were moored. A CP-140 Aurora and HMCS Ville de Quebec frigate assisted the United States in tracking the Russian flotilla as it approached Cuba.

According to MND Blair, Ottawa also sent one of Canada’s most modern naval vessels, HMCS Margaret Brooke, an Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, “to demonstrate Canada’s presence, naval capability and commitment to safe and open waters in the Americas.” [1]

Blair also noted that this naval mission was intended as an act of deterrence against Moscow. Blair stated that “presence is deterrence. We were present.” Canada is “committed to maintaining a credible military presence in the sea and in the air around our continent,” Blair said. “Any foreign actors coming into our neighbourhood can expect to see our armed forces fulfilling their mission to protect Canada's interests,” he added. [2]

HMCS Margaret Brooke is armed with a Mk 38 25mm gun and two M2 Browning machine guns.

Shortly after the arrival of the Canadian ship, the Russian flotilla departed Cuba and was reported headed for Venezuela.

There is no confirmation yet that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering withdrawing Russian military forces from Ukraine.


1. Steven Chase, “Warship’s visit to Cuba was intended to deter Russia, says minister,” The Globe and Mail, 18 June 2024. Accessed at:

2. Peter Zimonjic, “Minister defends Canadian navy ship’s visit to Cuba with Russian vessels in port,” CBC News, 17 June 2024. Accessed at:


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