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Wednesday morning, the Russian spy ship SSV-175 Viktor Leonov was spotted for the second day in a row off the eastern coast of the United States, however, this time the ship was notably closer to the U.S. territorial boundary line and not particularly far from a Navy submarine base.
As we previously reported, Tuesday the Viktor Leonov was spotted approximately 70 miles off the coast of Delaware headed on a northern trajectory.
According to U.S. officials, the ship was once again located near the East Coast, this time 40 miles closer, at only 30 miles south of Groton, Connecticut. As Fox News reports, U.S. officials state that the Viktor Leonov is currently “loitering” in international waters and is armed with surface-to-air missiles as well as the ability to intercept US communications, signals and Naval sonar.
This was the furthest north the Viktor Leonov had ever traveled up the eastern seaboard. The Russian spy ship was last seen off the East Coast of the U.S. about two years ago, spending time near another U.S. submarine base in Kings Bay, Ga. In January 2015, the ship was seen in Havana, Cuba.
The Pentagon expects the Russian spy ship to sail south along the East Coast and return to the Caribbean.
The deployment of Viktor Leonov was months in the making, Fox News was told. The ship is part of Russia’s Northern Fleet based along the Barents Sea. The ship crossed the Atlantic and made a port call in Jamaica in the past few weeks, according to officials.
The Russian spy ship’s venture near the U.S. mainland follows other recent Russian provocations — four Russian jets buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea on Friday, coming within 200 yards of USS Porter. The Russian jets had their identifying transponders turned off and ignored repeated radio calls from the American warship.
Russia was also deploying for the first time a ground-based nuke-capable cruise missile inside Russia, which violates a decades old arms treaty between Moscow and Washington.
Thoughts on the Viktor Leonov’s little field trip just outside of American waters? Let us know in the comment section below.