The Viktor Leonov CCB-175, a Russian Navy intelligence warship. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) By Meg Wagner Close to the U.S., but still in international waters A Russian spy ship sailed a mere 30 miles from the Connecticut coast on Wednesday — lurking near a U.S. Navy base in Groton that is home to 15…
A Russian spy ship sailed a mere 30 miles from the Connecticut coast on Wednesday — lurking near a U.S. Navy base in Groton that is home to 15 nuclear submarines — during a tumultuous week for U.S.-Russian relations.
The U.S. Coast Guard has been tracking the Viktor Leonov as it moves along the U.S. coast in international waters. The ship had been spotted about 70 miles from Delaware’s shores on Monday.
Since the Russian vessel has not entered U.S. territory, which extends 12 miles into the ocean from the coast, officials have not taken action against it.
“We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal state consistent with international law,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
News of the ship’s presence came just after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday amid allegations that he may have illegally spoken to the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions.
Despite officials’ reassurance that the spy ship’s mission close to the U.S. is legal, some lawmakers condemned it as an overt display of Russian aggression.
“Anyone who would loiter off the coast of Connecticut isn’t doing it because of the great climate and weather — it’s freezing weather,” Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said while addressing his colleagues in Congress Wednesday. “They are doing it with aggressive intent.”
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