The Russians are listening.
At least, that’s what the Coast Guard suspects after a Russian ship was spotted lurking off the coast between South Carolina and Florida, CNN reported, citing a U.S. official.
The Viktor Leonov has been a sporadic visitor to U.S. waters, according to The Washington Times.
It has attempted to gather surveillance off the southeast coast in the areas around the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina and the submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard in Charleston issued a maritime safety information bulletin about the Leonov, calling it a Russian AGI, or auxiliary general intelligence ship.
“The United States Coast Guard has received reports indicating that the RFN Viktor Leonov (AGI-175) has been operating in an unsafe manner off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia,” the notice said.
“This unsafe operation includes not energizing running lights while in reduced visibility conditions, not responding to hails by commercial vessels attempting to coordinate safe passage and other erratic movements,” it added.
Ships located in the area of Georgia and South Carolina should “maintain a sharp lookout and use extreme caution when navigating in proximity to this vessel,” the notice said.
As the Russians try to spy on the U.S., Americans are returning the favor to ensure the nation is secure.
“We are aware of Russia’s naval activities, including the deployment of intelligence collection ships in the region,” Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze told The Times.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command closely track vessels of interest, such as the Loenov, she said.
“While we won’t discuss specific measures being taken, NORAD and USNORTHCOM routinely conduct air and maritime operations to ensure the defense of the United States and Canada,” she said.
The Russian Navy is no longer military. They are pirates. They should be treated as such. They may be delivering or picking up spies. They aren’t there for our protection. https://t.co/aHaNue3U6y
— Ezra Pound (@FosteSherman) December 17, 2019
A defense official told CNN that the USS Mahan, a Navy destroyer, was now operating in the same areas as the Russian ship.
The Leonov was also spotted off the East Coast in 2018.
Ever since 2015, the ship has cruised along the coast for months at a time, CNN reported.
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