A Russian spy ship is currently conducting surveillance operations in waters near a U.S. ballistic missile submarine base in Georgia, according to Navy officials.
“We are tracking the Viktor Leonov’s presence off the East Coast, much like we are aware of all vessels approaching the United States,” said Navy Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a Navy spokesman.
“We respect the right and freedoms of all nations to operate in international waters in accordance with international law,” he added.
A military official said the Leonov, a ship known for conducting annual forays near sensitive U.S. military facilities off the East Coast, is currently operating off the Georgia coast near Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, home to U.S. nuclear missile submarines.
The ship for the past several days was located some 20 nautical miles offshore and has been closely shadowed by U.S. military ships and aircraft, including P-8 surveillance aircraft.
Kings Bay is the location of Submarine Group 10 that includes six nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines. It is also the location of Strategic Weapons Facility, Atlantic, that is in charge of maintaining nuclear warheads for submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The Leonov has been tracked since January when it left Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Leonov is part of a major increase in Russian naval activity around the world.
Under the Trump administration, Russia and China have been elevated to national security threats after nearly two decades of a major focus on counterterrorism operations.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has boasted he has been sending nuclear attack submarines on snooping missions within spitting distance of US military bases.
Russian state TV told how the deadly fleet has been secretly prowling the American coast before slyly slipping away undetected.
Europe’s top military commander warned Russia’s submarine activity is now at its highest levels since the 1980s.
“They are deploying more and they are deploying at a higher rate,” said Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander of Europe.
“The forces they are deploying are being modernised, particularly with their weapons systems.”
While the US remains dominant undersea, more investment is needed to keep that edge, he told US politicians.
News of the sub spying mission was made in a TV series set to air on the Russian Defense Ministry’s official broadcaster ‘Star’.
The “spying” episode focuses on the work of Akula-class Shchuka-B nuclear-powered attack submarines, reports Russia Today.
Russian nuclear-powered submarines conducted an exercise near American military bases with the objective of avoiding detection as they came close to the US coast, according to a submarine squadron commander.
According to a submarine officer filmed in the show, the Navy command ordered to take position in the vicinity of US military bases during exercises.
“This mission has been accomplished, the submarines showed up in the set location in the ocean and returned to base,” the commander of the submarine squadron, Sergey Starshinov, told Zvezda.
Asked if the submarines had managed to stay off the radar during the mission, Starshinov replied: “Yes. This is our objective – to come and go undetected.” The Navy commander said the Russian vessels came “close enough” to American shores but did not violate US maritime borders, remaining in neutral waters.
The date and location of the covert mission have not been disclosed, but the channel said the Russian nuclear-powered submarines “reached the very coastline of the US.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 16th, 2018