A Russian spy ship from their Northern Fleet currently sits about thirty miles off the coast of Groton, Connecticut; a strategic location that will allow them to observe operations at Naval Submarine Base New London, the U.S. Navy’s primary submarine installation on the East Coast. United States territorial waters extend twelve nautical miles from the shore, placing the Russian spy vessel far enough into international waters to leave the American Navy with no legal recourse but to wait for the ship to depart on its own. The ship, called the Viktor Leonov, is expected to sail south toward the Caribbean once it has completed its mission – whatever that mission may be.
“We are aware of the vessel’s presence,” Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department, told NBC News. “It has not entered U.S. territorial waters. We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal State consistent with international law.”
This is not the first time the United States has tracked this spy vessel as it traveled up and down the American coast. It completed similar voyages in both 2014 and 2015, though this is the first time in recent history that the Viktor Leonov has sailed further north than Virginia.
Despite similar missions in the past, a number of Connecticut lawmakers have voiced concerns about the presence of the ship that is clearly using its suite of intelligence gathering equipment to monitor operations in the United States’ primary Atlantic submarine installation. This development in conjunction with other Russian acts around the globe and still developing allegations of collusion between President Donald Trump’s election campaign staff and the Russian government have put many lawmakers, and American citizens, on edge.