NEW LONDON, Connecticut --ABC News has confirmed that a Russian spy ship is now 30 miles south of New London, Connecticut, where a U.S. Navy submarine base is located.
The Viktor Leonov, a Russian intelligence gathering ship, had been making its way north along the East Coast of the United States. The vessel was 70 miles off the coast of Delaware Monday and is currently located off the coast of eastern Long Island.
U.S. officials have said that the spy ship was likely headed to a location near Connecticut in international waters, where it could be close to the submarine base in New London. U.S. territorial waters extend 12 miles from shore to the vessel.
"A Russian spy ship patrolling 30 miles from the Groton SUBASE underscores that the threats posed by a resurgent Russia are real," said Congressman Joe Courtney, ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. "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."
According to a U.S. official, the Leonov is currently "loitering" about 30 miles south of New London, equipped with communications and signal intelligence gathering equipment. The ship is not believed to be a threat to national security, but many view its presence as an indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing the envelope.
"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. "The Coast Guard continues to coordinate with federal agency partners to monitor maritime contacts operating in the vicinity of U.S. shores."
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