Russian warships to arrive in Havana next week but pose no threat, Cuba says

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba said on Thursday that Russian warships would arrive in Havana next week, but that the four navy ships carried no nuclear weapons and did not present a threat to the region.

"This visit corresponds to the historical friendly relations between Cuba and the Russian Federation and strictly adheres to the international regulations," Cuba`s foreign ministry said in a statement.

"None of the ships carry nuclear weapons, so their stopover in our country does not represent a threat to the region."

The announcement out of Cuba comes one day after a U.S. official told reporters that Russia had plans to send combat vessels into the Caribbean region, including to allies Cuba and Venezuela, to conduct naval exercises.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have increased since Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and Russian naval activity - though routine in the Atlantic - has ratcheted up because of U.S. support for Ukraine, U.S. officials have said.

The United States does not, however, see the expected arrival of a small number of planes and ships as threatening, but the U.S. Navy will monitor the exercises, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

The Russian ships are expected to arrive in Havana harbor between June 12 and June 17, according to the Cuban statement.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)