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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia plans to send combat vessels into the Caribbean region this summer as part of naval exercises that will likely include port calls in Cuba and possibly stops in Venezuela, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.

The United States does not see the move involving a relatively small number of vessels and planes as threatening, but the U.S. Navy will monitor the exercises, the official told a small group of reporters.

Tensions between the United States and Russia have increased since Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The official said Russian naval activity had ratcheted up because of U.S. support for Ukraine.

“This is about Russia showing that it’s still capable of some level of global power projection,” the official said.

U.S. officials briefed relevant lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the activity on Thursday, the official said.

“As part of Russia‚Äôs regular military exercises, we anticipate that this summer, Russia will conduct heightened naval and air activity near the United States. These actions will culminate in a global Russian naval exercise this fall,” the official said.

The deployments are seen as part of routine naval activity and “we are not concerned by Russia’s deployments, which pose no direct threat to the United States,” the official said.

“We are expecting that Russia will temporarily send combat naval vessels to the Caribbean region and these ships will likely conduct port calls in Cuba and possibly Venezuela. There may also be some aircraft deployments or flights in the region,” he said.

The Biden administration did not view the deployment with alarm since Russia had sailed ships into the Western Hemisphere yearly from 2013 to 2020, the official said.

“We should expect more of this activity going forward, although we note these deployments incur a cost on the Russian Navy, which is struggling to maintain readiness and conduct deployments with an aged fleet,” the official said.