Reports: Russian spy ship seen patrolling off Connecticut coast


GROTON, Conn. (WTNH/WPRI)– A Russian spy ship was reportedly spotted floating off the coast of Connecticut Wednesday.

According to several media reports, including CBS 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.

ABC News reports 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 U.S. officials. U.S. territorial waters extend 12 miles from shore.

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.

Eyewitness News wanted to know if the location of the ship was cause for concern.

Joseph Roberts, a professor of politics and international relations at Roger Williams University, said the spy ship’s position is actually a normal occurrence.

He said the United States does it to Russia and China, and they do it to the US.

Roberts said the ship is in international waters and it’s a way for Russia to keep an eye on things.

While it’s not unusual, some members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation took the opportunity to call out the Trump administration.

Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut 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.”

Additionally, Connecticut representative Rosa DeLauro tweeted about the incident.

Our sister station WTNH is working to gather more information at this time. Check back for more updates.

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