A Russian signals intelligence ship was spotted 70 miles off the coast of Delaware Tuesday, Fox News reports.
The ship is equipped with technology that can intercept nearby communications and measure U.S. navy sonar capability, officials told FoxNews. “It’s not a huge concern, but we are keeping our eyes on it,” an official elaborated.
The same ship, theSSV-175 Viktor Leonov, has been repeatedly deployed to the U.S. coast and harangued U.S. naval operations. The ship spent nearly a month in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2014 intercepting U.S. communications, after making a brief pit stop in Havana in February. At the time, Pentagon officials suspected the ship of lingering in international waters to monitor U.S. nuclear submarines in Georiga, and other naval installations.
Later that year, the Leonov made its way to the pacific ocean where it clung to U.S. military exercises off the coast of Hawaii. In each case the Russian ship stayed in international waters, which begin 12 nautical miles off the coast of the U.S.
No U.S. vessels have been assigned to shadow the Russian ship. Pentagon officials have stressed in the past that the behavior is consistent with U.S. practices off the coast of Russia. When a senior U.S. official was asked if the U.S. similarly stationed ships off Russia’s coast in Septemeber 2015, he replied “of course we do, what do you think all those ‘oceanographic ships’ are doing, studying whales?”
Chinese military ships have also come close to U.S. shores. Five Chinese vessels sailed off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea in 2015, marking the first foray for the rising naval power. The ships were timed to coincide with a trip by former President Barack Obama to Alaska.
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