A Russian spy ship was spotted along the United States East Coast near the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new Pentagon statement. Two Russian ships, one believed to be operating as a spy ship and the other a tug, were reportedly along the coast for the past month.
Pentagon representative Lt. Col. Tom Crosson had this to say when speaking to the media about the Russian spy ship:
“We are aware that the Russian ships Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker are currently operating in waters that are beyond US territorial seas but near Cuba. We respect the freedom of all nations, as reflected in international law, to operate military vessels beyond the territorial seas of other nations.”
Crossen refused to comment or speculate on the possible activities of the Russian spy ship further. “It would be inappropriate for me to talk about the operations of non-US vessels operating beyond US territorial seas,” the Pentagon spokesman concluded.
The Viktor Leonov is reportedly a Russian spy ship that is outfitted with “high-tech electronic” intelligence gathering equipment. The Nokolay Chiker is a naval tug that has been a companion to the Leonov throughout its journey to the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials at the Pentagon believe the pair of Russian ships have been part of a spy operation since March. The presumed intelligence gathering target is the United States nuclear missile submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia and several other American military facilities, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Both the Russian spy ship and the tug were detected while they were operating near the Mayport, Florida Naval Station south of the submarine base in Kings Bay.
One unnamed Pentagon officials speculated that the monitoring of the US nuclear missile submarine station is part of a Russian nuclear exercise. Military media releases in Russia reportedly state that 1,000 pieces of military equipment and 10,000 Russian troops from the Strategic Missile Forces engaged in training exercises April 17 to 19. The dates reportedly coincide with the movements of the Nokolay Chiker ship off the northern Florida coast. The Nokolay Chiker is believed to have supported submarines in the past and is outfitted with a lift system capable or servicing submarines.
A Russian defense representative said this to Interfax:
“The exercises will test the cohesiveness and skills of units and commands in the process of alerting and the achievement of training objectives under various circumstances and in any time of the day.”
What do you think about the Russian spy ship operating along the United States coast?
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