Russian Surveillance Ship Found Patrolling Off Coast of South Carolina

strange presence of a Russian spy vessel sparks panic and military response

strange presence of a Russian spy vessel sparks panic and military response

Abigail Quinn, Contributor

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Viktor Leonov, a Russian spy ship, spent several days patrolling off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, dangerously close to multiple of the most vital military bases in the U.S.

The ship in question has been shadowed periodically in international waters near the east coast and in the Caribbean since 2015 and has been thought to be spying on military bases and undersea internet cables. However, according to CNN, “the ships actions were determined to be unsafe because it is not using running lights in low viability weather and it is not responding to commercial vessels’ attempts to communicate and avoid potential accidents.”

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. A similar incident with a Russian vessel, known as an Auxiliary General Intelligence, occurred in 2017 off the coast of Connecticut. The ship was found patrolling waters near Groton, Connecticut, which is home to a submarine base that the navy calls the “Home of the submarine force.”

It is theorized that the ship’s presence comes directly in response to the U.S. sending a guided-missile destroyer to Constanta, Romania, on Monday for what the navy called a “scheduled port visit” as a part of a U.S. effort to support NATO ally Romania. Russia has bulked its presence in that area since 2014 and has regularly shadowed American warships while they operate in the Black Sea area.

Additionally, tensions between Washington and Moscow remain high after the White House discussed potentially dismantling the final remaining nuclear arms treaty between the two powers. This crucial move could launch the U.S. back into an arms race with Russia.

The mysterious ship has now returned to international waters, but not after defense officials confirmed that the U.S. Navy’s USS Mahan and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer were operating in close waters to the Russian ship.