On Wednesday, a Russian spy ship patrolled 30 miles offshore a U.S. Navy submarine base in Connecticut. The state’s congressman called it an effort to test the resolve of the new Trump administration.
A U.S. defense official stated that the ship is a Viktor Leonov, it was sailing in international waters and it’s outfitted with a variety of high-tech spying equipment designed to intercept signals intelligence.
It’s not the first time the ship has been deployed off the coast of the U.S. The same ship carried out similar patrols in 2014 and 2015 off the Florida coast. However, such missions were more common during the Cold War.
Member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. said that the ship was spotted about 30 miles from the Naval Submarine Base New London, located in Groton, Conn. It is the Navy’s primary East Coast submarine base.
Courtney said the move represents “unacceptable, aggressive action … clearly testing the resolve of a new administration.” Especially when coupled with the recent reported buzzing of U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea by Russian planes.
Courtney said in a statement that the White House needs to move past their seeming infatuation with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and treat him like the serious threat to global peace and security that he has been for the last five years.
Connecticut Democrat and ranking member on a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, Sen. Chris Murphy, said that while the ship’s presence offshore was not wholly unprecedented, it’s part of a series of aggressive actions by Russia that threaten U.S. national security.
The spy ship comes as U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia deployed a cruise missile, which violates the arms control treaty set up from the Cold War era. The missile is capable of threatening NATO’s European members.
James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense, was scheduled to visit NATO’s headquarters on Wednesday to meet with his counterparts. This violation complicates the position of U.S.-Russia relations amidst chaos on Trump’s national security team.