'We've got to be worried' about Russia's warships: Former KGB spy

(NewsNation) — Russia sent three warships and a nuclear submarine to Cuban waters Tuesday for routine military exercises, a show of strength that has some worried.

“Vladimir Putin is again up to his own tricks. He likes to scare people,“ former spy Jack Barsky said in an appearance on NewsNation’s “The Hill” Wednesday.

Barsky was recruited by the KGB and sent to the United States, where he spent a decade spying for the Soviet Union.

He then left the KGB and lived in the U.S. for decades under an assumed identity before he was discovered by the FBI.

The author of “Deep Undercover: My Secret Life & Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America,” Barsky offers unique insight into Russia’s motivations in Cuba and elsewhere.

“You’ve got to be worried about this kind of stuff. You can’t look at this as just a routine exercise. It has to be seen against the background where Putin is stating that he’s actually fighting the West in the Ukraine,” Barsky said.

The Pentagon remains unconcerned with Russia’s deployments. The agency said the visit is part of routine naval activity and poses no threat to the United States.

“Everything that Putin does is sending messaging, particularly threatening ones,” Barsky said.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark shared similar sentiments on NewsNation’s “The Hill” Tuesday, though he believes this visit to Cuba’s waters does not signal war.

“I don’t think it’s anything that will erupt in violence,” Clark said. “But does [Vladimir Putin] send a message to the United States and the world? Sure.”

Barsky compared Russia’s presence in the Caribbean to the Cuban missile crisis when the fear of nuclear war paralyzed America for nearly two weeks.

“With this kind of tension that we have, there’s always the possibility of an accidental launch,” Barsky said. “I’m worried about that.”

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