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    Russian warships sail off the coast of Florida, US responds with a yawn

    By Jamie McIntyre,


    THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING: Four Russian warships were tracked as they cruised in international waters off the coast of Florida yesterday en route to Cuba for planned exercises in the Caribbean, in what U.S. officials describe as an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to show the Russian navy can still project power despite the humiliating loss of a third of its Black Sea Fleet to Ukrainian drones and missiles.

    CNN showed pictures of the ships last night taken by a passenger on a Celebrity cruise line ship, about 90 miles off the coast.

    The Russian Defense Ministry said the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet and said to be armed with Russia’s new Zircon hypersonic missiles, and the Kazan nuclear-powered submarine, capable of firing modern Kalibr cruise missiles, conducted drills in the Atlantic meant to simulate a missile strike on a group of enemy ships.

    The drills were touted on Russian state television as a demonstration of Moscow’s global reach. The Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Russian warships will arrive in Havana today and stay for about five days, noting the ships are not carrying nuclear weapons and do not represent a threat to the region.

    US: NO BIG DEAL: The show of force from Putin’s navy drew little reaction from Washington, with officials saying that just like the U.S. Navy, the Russians have a right to sail in international waters wherever they want. Nevertheless, the U.S. is carefully tracking the vessels with Navy and Coast Guard ships.

    “This isn't the first time they've done this. They've done it several years past — almost every couple of years or so they do this,” White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said on CNN last week. “So we'll watch it closely, but we're not anticipating any significant national security threat as a result of these exercises.”

    “We believe it is messaging by the Russians who are clearly unhappy now that we've got the supplemental funding and we are supplying Ukraine with weapons,” Kirby said. “We have five packages in just the last month of weapons. We think some of this is also posturing and saber-rattling by the Russians.”

    PUTIN RATTLED BY WESTERN WEAPONS: The Russian naval exercise in America’s backyard comes after Putin has continued to rail against the Western weapons Ukraine is using to great effect, especially in occupied Crimea, where there is no limit on the use of long-range missiles supplied by allies.

    In his meeting with international journalists last week, Putin not only complained about the modern missiles that have recently destroyed some of Russia’s top-of-the-line air defenses and disrupted supply routes into the south, but he accused the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany of picking the targets and providing the expertise to program the guidance systems.

    “A multiple launch rocket system, a long range of 70 kilometers or something similar — it has been used for a long time. In fact, Ukrainian military personnel can do this on their own,” Putin said. “As for advanced high-tech, high-precision, and long-range weapons, such as the British Storm Shadow or the American ATACMS or French missiles, what can we say? … Ukrainian military personnel cannot do everything on their own and launch strikes with this missile. They are simply technologically unable to do this because it requires satellite reconnaissance.”

    “They are not the ones who decide whether a particular target should be hit because, to reiterate, a WTA [weapon target assignment] is formed and effectively entered only by those who supply the weapons,” Putin said . “If we are talking about ATACMS, then the Pentagon is doing it. If it is Storm Shadow, then the British are.”

    “If we see that these countries are being embroiled into a war against us and this constitutes their direct involvement in the war against the Russian Federation, we reserve the right to respond in kind,” Putin continued. “If someone is thinking that it is possible to supply such weapons to a war zone in order to deliver strikes at our territory and to create problems for us, why can we not supply our weapons of the same class to those regions around the world where they will target sensitive facilities of the countries that are doing this to Russia? The response could be symmetrical. We will give it a thought.”


    Good Wednesday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre ( @jamiejmcintyre ) and edited by Stacey Dec . Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at . If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow me on Threads and/or on X @jamiejmcintyre


    HAPPENING TODAY: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is heading to Brussels today for tomorrow's meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contract Group followed by a two-day gathering of NATO defense ministers.

    Austin is expected to confirm reports that the United States will provide a second Patriot missile system to Ukraine as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pleading for more of the premier air defense system that has proven highly effective in downing Russian missiles, drones, and aircraft.

    At a meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Riga, Latvia, yesterday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO is preparing to take a series of actions at next month’s summit in Washington to play a “greater role for NATO in coordinating training and equipment for Ukraine.”

    “We must maintain this level of support for as long as necessary to ensure fresh funding every year,” Stoltenberg said. “Credible, long-term support sends a clear message to President Putin that he cannot wait us out.”

    BIDEN TO ITALY FOR G7 SUMMIT: President Joe Biden departs today for the G7 leaders’ summit in Apulia, Italy, which begins tomorrow.

    “At the G7 meeting later this week, our commitment to Ukraine will continue to be right up front and clear. We will take bold steps to show Mr. Putin that time is not on his side and that he cannot outlast us as we support Ukraine's fight for freedom,” John Kirby told reporters in a White House teleconference.

    “We will announce new steps to unlock the value of the immobilized Russian sovereign assets to benefit Ukraine and to help them recover from the destruction that Mr. Putin's army has caused,” Kirby said. “On Thursday, President Biden and President Zelensky will sit down to discuss our strong support for Ukraine now and into the future. And following that meeting, both leaders, President Biden and President Zelensky, will participate in a news conference.”

    “We're going to continue to drive up costs for the Russian war machine, and this week, we will announce an impactful set of new sanctions and export control actions,” he added.

    A HELLUVA TAIWAN STRATEGY: One of the more quotable lines to come out of the Shangri-La Dialogue two weeks ago in Singapore came on the sidelines of the defense summit in an interview the new head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Samuel Paparo , gave to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin .

    In discussing the strategy to deter China from trying to take the self-governing island of Taiwan by force, Paparo confirmed the plan is to convince Beijing any invasion force would be quickly overwhelmed by swarms of thousands of new drones that would tie up China’s military until help could arrive.

    “I want to turn the Taiwan Strait into an unmanned hellscape using a number of classified capabilities,” Paparo told Rogin. “So that I can make their lives utterly miserable for a month, which buys me the time for the rest of everything.”

    When Rogin pressed for details, Paparo replied, “I can’t tell you what’s in it, but it’s real and it’s deliverable.”

    The so-called Hellscape strategy is drawn directly from the lessons of the war in Ukraine, where Ukrainian defenders have used low-cost disposable drones in innovative and effective asymmetric warfare to overcome Russia’s conventional military superiority.

    “They want to offer the world a short, sharp war so that it is a fait accompli before the world can get their act together,” Paparo said. “My job is to ensure that between now and 2027 and beyond, the U.S. military and the allies are capable of prevailing.”

    “The region has got two choices. The first is that they can submit, and as an end result give up some of their freedoms … or they can arm to the teeth,” Paparo told Rogin. “Both cases have direct implications to the security, the freedom, and the well-being of the citizens of the United States of America.”



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    9 a.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: beginning at 9 a.m., on a new report, "A Global South with Chinese Characteristics," with Demetri Sevastopulo , Financial Times U.S.-China correspondent; David Shullman , senior director, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Niva Yau , nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; William Piekos , nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Oscar Meywa Otele , nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; and Victoria Chonn-Ching , nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Latin America Center

    10 a.m. 2172 Rayburn — House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: "Great Power Competition in the Western Hemisphere,” with testimony from Brian Nichols , assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs; Todd Robinson , assistant secretary, State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Michael Camilleri , acting assistant administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development

    10 a.m. 2167 Rayburn — House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hearing: "Recapitalization of the U.S. Coast Guard."

    10:30 a.m. 2154 Rayburn — House Oversight and Accountability National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing: “Addressing Oversight and Safety Concerns in the Department of Defense's V-22 Osprey Program,” with testimony from Vice Adm. Carl Chebi , commander of U.S. Naval Air Systems Command; Peter Belk , performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for readiness; and Gary Kurtz , program executive officer for air anti-submarine warfare and special missions programs in the Defense Department

    11 a.m. 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center virtual discussion: "India's Post-Election Foreign Policy," with former Indian Envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria ; Sohini Bose , associate fellow, Observer Research Foundation; and Jabin Jacob , associate professor at Shiv Nadar University

    12 p.m.  1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center discussion: "Opportunities for strategic partnership across the Indo-Pacific," with Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell

    12 p.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: "The New Iron Triangle: Achieving Adaptability and Scale in Defense Acquisition," with Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA); Aditi Kumar , Defense Innovation Unit; Lt. Gen. Robert Collins , Army Acquisition Corps; Mitch Skiles , Palantir Technologies; Andy Green , HII Mission Technologies; Joe Laurenti , Ursa Major; Michael Brasseur , Saab; Michael Hiatt , Epirus; and Josh Martin , Varda Industries

    1 p.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual book discussion: Lost Decade: The U.S. Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power, with co-author Robert Blackwill , senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, Council on Foreign Relations; co-author Richard Fontaine , CNAS CEO; and Ellen Nakashima , Washington Post national security reporter

    2 p.m — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: "Understanding the Growing Collaboration Between Russia and Iran," with Jon Alterman , director, CSIS Middle East Program; Max Bergmann , director, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program; and Hanna Notte , nonresident senior associate, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program

    3:30 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: "Integrating Space for the Joint Fight," with Col. Bryon McClain , program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power at Space Systems Command; Shannon Pallone , program executive officer for battle management command, control, and communications at Space Systems Command; Stephen Kitay , senior director of Microsoft's Azure Space; Nate Notargiacomo , head of HEO USA; and Frank Di Pentino , chief strategy officer, True Anomaly

    4:30 p.m. — Atlantic Council virtual book discussion: Battleground Ukraine: From Independence to the War with Russia, with author Adrian Karatnycky , Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow, and David Frum , staff writer, the Atlantic


    TBA Brussels Belgium — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosts the 23rd meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Introductory remarks and post-meeting news conference livestreamed at

    TBA Brussels, Belgium — Meeting of NATO defense ministers June 13-14, with news conferences both days from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

    8 a.m. 7920 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club 2024 Army Summit, with Doug Bush , assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology, and Army Chief Information Officer Leonel Garciga

    9:30 a.m. — U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission virtual hearing, "China's Stockpiling and Mobilization Measures for Competition and Conflict”

    10 a.m. 1501 Langston Blvd., Arlington, Virginia — Air and Space Forces Association discussion: “Air Force efforts to prepare for great power competition," with Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Allvin

    10 a.m. 2172 Rayburn — House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee hearing: "The Plight of Americans Detained Abroad,” with testimony from Rena Bitter , assistant secretary of state for consular affairs; Roger Carstens , State Department special presidential envoy for hostage affairs; and Raj Maan , director of the FBI’s Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell

    2 p.m. 310 Cannon — House Homeland Security Committee hearing: "A Cascade of Security Failures: Assessing Microsoft Corporation's Cybersecurity Shortfalls and the Implications for Homeland Security,” with testimony from Microsoft Vice Chairman and President Brad Smith

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