GROTON, Conn. (WTNH)– A Russian spy ship has been spotted floating off the coast of Connecticut, Wednesday.
According to ABC News, the Russian intelligence gathering ship, named the Viktor Leonov, was seen patrolling in waters 30 miles south of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton. The ship appears to be making its way up the east coast as Monday it was spotted 70 miles off the coast of Delaware.
U.S. officials said that the ship was likely headed to that location near Connecticut in international waters where it could be close to the sub base, according to ABC News. The U.S. territorial waters extend 12 miles from shore to the vessel.
— David Iversen (@daviivers) February 15, 2017
Officials say the “loitering” ship is equipped with communications and signal intelligence gathering equipment.
Before heading to the U.S., the Leonov was seen in the Atlantic Ocean seemingly headed towards the Caribbean and in early February it made port in Kingston, Jamaica, according to ABC News.
Congressman Joe Courtney released the following statement in regards to the spy ship:
“A Russian spy ship patrolling 30 miles from the Groton SUBASE underscores that the threats posed by a resurgent Russia are real,” said Courtney. “This unacceptable, aggressive action, combined with the buzzing of US Navy ships in the Red Sea yesterday are clearly testing the resolve of a new administration. While I have total confidence in our Navy’s vigilant, responsible readiness, the White House needs to move past their seeming infatuation with Putin and treat him like the serious threat to global peace and security that he has been for the last five years.”
Senator Chris Murphy also released a statement on the Russian ship:
“While this is not wholly unprecedented, it’s part of a series of aggressive actions by Russia that threaten U.S. national security and the security of our allies. Just yesterday, news broke that Russia violated an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Coupled with escalating fighting in eastern Ukraine and Russian jets buzzing a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea, Putin clearly thinks the Trump administration has given him a permission slip to flex his muscles. President Trump and his administration must end their silence and immediately respond to these threats to our national security.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal commented on the presence of ship, as well, in this statement:
“The presence of this spy ship has to be regarded very seriously because Russia is an increasingly aggressive adversary. It reflects a clear need to harden our defenses against electronic surveillance and cyber espionage. I am personally monitoring this situation and remain in close contact with both the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard. The return of a Russian vessel is particularly concerning in the context of escalating Russian aggression – within days of the Russian’s buzzing a U.S. Navy ship in the Black Sea, as well as deploying a cruise missile in violation of our arms control treaty – which only underscores the need for an independent investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russian agents.”
Web Extra: Senator Blumenthal on Russian Spy Ship
Additionally, Connecticut representative Rosa DeLauro tweeted about the incident.
Russia is flexing its muscle and floating a submarine off the coast of Connecticut. Maybe you should focus your attention there? https://t.co/eWGBN0HtHw
— Rosa DeLauro (@rosadelauro) February 15, 2017
Correction: it’s a ship, not a submarine. However, President Trump needs to focus on the issues at hand rather than tweeting.
— Rosa DeLauro (@rosadelauro) February 15, 2017
She later added this full statement:
“News that a Russian spy ship is sailing along the coast of Connecticut to monitor our nation’s military fleet is alarming. While Russia continues to flex its muscle by deploying a cruise missile that violates a long-standing arms treaty, buzzing U.S. naval ships in international waters, and floating an intelligence ship along our coast, President Trump has failed to show leadership and condemn Vladimir Putin and his Russian regime. All of these events raise the question of why Russia has decided to make these aggressive moves now. The events of the last 48 hours highlight our nation’s severe national security crisis that must be dealt with immediately.
“With Michael Flynn’s illegal contact with the Russian ambassador, the Trump campaign’s conversations with Russia during the election, and the Russian government hacking e-mails, Vladimir Putin continues to make efforts to undermine our democracy. President Trump must make it very clear that American democracy and sovereignty are not open for Russian meddling and stop Vladimir Putin from engaging in these egregious actions.”
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty issued her statement regarding the incident:
“Russia’s escalating aggression is a serious national security threat. Yet again, the Kremlin is testing the resolve of the Trump administration. It is long past time for the White House to stop making excuses for Vladimir Putin and respond to his acts of thuggery with the toughness our security demands.”
And Congressman Jim Himes released this:
“Residents of Connecticut should know that the arrival of the Victor Leonov, a Russian intelligence ship, 30 miles off of our coast yesterday does not present a direct threat to our physical safety. Its appearance is troubling, however, viewed in conjunction with the ongoing stories of Russian ties and interference in the Trump Administration and the recent deployment of a Russian cruise missile in apparent violation of international agreements. In my opinion, Russia is making a show of strength and pushing established boundaries and norms to gauge the reaction of a new administration in disarray.”
ABC News says that based on past Russian practice, the ship is likely heading to Cuba when it finishes its Northeast mission.