A Russian spy ship was spotted patrolling off the U.S. east coast on Wednesday, about 50 kilometres from a U.S. Navy submarine base in Connecticut.
Citing an unnamed US official, Fox News was first to report the Russian vessel Viktor Leonov SSV-175 spy ship “loitering” in international waters just south of Groton, Connecticut roughly 100 kilometres from Hartford.
Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney confirmed the ship’s presence, and called it an “aggressive action” by the Russians.
“The Russian spy ship patrolling 30 miles off the coast of Groton and the SUBASE underscores the very real threat posed by a resurgent Russia,” Courtney said in a statement. “This unacceptable, aggressive action, combined with the buzzing of US Navy ships in the Red Sea yesterday, is a clear indication that Russia is testing the resolve of the new Administration.”
The ship’s sighting comes just after a Trump administration official said Tuesday that Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of a Cold War-era arms control treaty.
The New York Times, which first reported the missile deployment, said the Russians have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile. One is at a missile test site at Kapustin Yar between Volgograd and Astrakhan and one was moved in December from the test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country.
Last week, multiple Russian military aircraft buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea in incidents considered “unsafe and unprofessional,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
There were three separate incidents involving Russian aircraft and the USS Porter, Captain Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, said. One involved two Russian Su-24 jets, another a separate Su-24, and the third involved a larger IL-38.
On Capitol Hill Wednesday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation that would give Congress the ability to review any changes to Russian sanctions. Among the lawmakers was Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, who lashed out at Russia’s actions, calling them “very alarming” and Russia should not be able to “weasel out of sanctions.”
“There’s a Russian spy ship floating 30 miles off Groton, Connecticut where the United States builds nuclear submarines,” Engel said. “It’s obvious and clear that [Vladimir] Putin is testing the new administration.”
–with files from the Associated Press
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.