Russian warships visit Cuba

December 19, 2008 8:31:18 AM PST
A Russian anti-submarine destroyer and two logistical warships are entering waters off Cuba in a nonmilitary visit that's the first of its kind since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The Admiral Chabanenko vessel is unfurling black plumes of smoke as it chugs toward Havana Bay, flanked by two smaller boats.

Closer to shore, a barge that routinely ferries food from the United States to the communist-run island is apparently moving to make room for the Russian boats. Washington's trade embargo allows direct sale of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba.

The Russian ships plan to moor on Friday in Havana in a show of increased cooperation between the two countries, though Cuba's government is not commenting.