The U.S. military has spotted a Russian spy ship lurking 30 miles from an American submarine base in Connecticut, marking the first such incident under President Donald Trump’s watch.
Citing unnamed U.S. officials, Fox News notes that reports of the spy ship navigating off the East Coast surfaced on Tuesday, “the same day it was learned the Kremlin had secretly deployed controversial cruise missiles inside Russia and flew within 200 yards of a U.S. Navy destroyer.”
CBS News reports that the U.S. military located the Russian ship in international waters — 30 miles from Groton, Connecticut, home of Naval Submarine Base New London. U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore.
Various news outlets have identified the Russian vessel as an Auxiliary General Intelligence (AGI) dubbed the Viktor Leonov.
The Navy describes the New London submarine base as the “Home of the Submarine Force.”
According to its official website, the base houses 6,500 military personnel and 1,000 civilian employees.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has described Russia as a “principal” threat against the United States.
CBS News reports:
The [Russian] ship had made a port call in Cuba and has been working its way up the East Coast. It’s expected to turn around and head south toward Cuba.
The presence of foreign vessels and aircraft near U.S. territory is nothing new. In 2015, there was a flap about a Russian spy ship hanging out in a spot where trans-Atlantic cables are laid.
On Tuesday, Fox News learned from a U.S. official that the Kremlin had deployed ground-based cruise missiles to two locations in Russia back in December.
According to the New York Times, former President Barack Obama’s administration had learned of the missiles during their testing phase.
“The ground-launched cruise missile at the center of American concerns is one that the Obama administration said in 2014 had been tested in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land,” points out the Times.
“But Russia has pressed ahead with its program, apparently testing a Trump administration which has sought better ties with Moscow — but is also fresh off the loss of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned Monday night in the wake of a scandal surrounding his communications with Russia,” notes Fox News.
The recent provocative acts by the Kremlin come after four Russian warplanes flew close to a U.S. Navy destroyer — the USS Porter — in the Black Sea five days ago.
“First, a Russian patrol plane made a low pass close to the USS Porter, then two Russian jet fighters were followed a short time later by a third. U.S. officials called the fly-bys ‘unsafe and unprofessional,’” points out CBS News.
ABC News quotes an unnamed U.S. official as saying, “yesterday there wasn’t much concern about the Leonov’s movements or its intelligence-gathering capabilities.”