Russian “Spy” Ship Seen near Virginia Coast
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A Russian spy ship sits 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut, a US defense official told CNN, while an armed Russian warplane recently carried out a “mock attack” against a US ship, according to cnn.com.
Russia remains a threatening adversary of the U.S., but the country’s recent aggressive military actions aren’t signs of an imminent conflict, reported nbcnews.com.
As of Friday morning, the Russian spy ship was slowly patrolling only 17 nautical miles — roughly 19 miles — from land, according to officials. United States territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore, according to foxnews.com
At about 300 feet long, the Viktor Leonov was built for spying, reports CBS News correspondent, Don Dahler. The ship’s sophisticated surveillance equipment can intercept radar, radio and other electronic signals, stated cbsnews.com.
The Leonov, which conducted similar patrols in 2014 and 2015, was off the coast of Delaware Wednesday. However, typically only travels as far as Virginia, reported cnn.com.
The Viktor Leonov, armed with an array of intelligence gathering equipment used to intercept communications and analyze U.S. Navy sonar capability, later traveled within 30 miles off the Connecticut coast near a submarine base earlier this week, according to cbsnews.com.
The deployment of the Russian intelligence-gathering ship was likely planned for months before it set sail in early January, according to U.S. defense officials. They said it apparently was not tied to the Obama administration’s Dec. 29 order that Moscow shut down two of its “vacation” properties, which the U.S. government said were used to intercept American communications. One was on New York’s Long Island and the other was at Maryland’s Eastern Shore, stated foxnews.com.