Friday, February 2, 2018

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Deploys To Virginia Coast After Russian Spy Ship Spotted

US Aircraft Carrier Deploys to Virginia Coast Where Russian Spy Ship Was Spotted

The US Navy has deployed the USS George HW Bush nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to the Virginia coastline after reports of a Russian spy ship surfaced a few days prior. The SSV-175 Viktor Leonov came within 27 miles of the Virginia coastline, but remained in international waters.
The Bush deployed from Naval Station Norfolk on Tuesday morning, according to maritime traffic monitors. Naval Today reported that the carrier was accompanied by the USS Philippine Sea guided missile cruiser, USS Donald Cook guided missile destroyer, and the Norwegian military frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
The 1,092 foot aircraft carrier and her strike group have headed deeper into the Atlantic Ocean, with their destination and mission unknown at this time. They are passing through the same waters that the Viktor Leonov passed through on January 24.

The Russian intelligence-gathering ship departed from Trinidad and Tobago to travel through international waters along the American east coast. The US Navy shadowed the vessel once they detected it via the destroyer USS Cole and a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane.

Without incident, Viktor Leonov sailed past. Tracking data published on Wednesday placed it about 160 miles from the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"We are tracking the Viktor Leonov's presence off the East Coast, much like we are aware of all vessels approaching the United States and Canada," said US Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki on the incident. "We respect the rights and freedoms of all nations to operate in international waters in accordance with international law."

The incident also comes at a moment of strain between Washington and Moscow over the high seas. On Monday, a Russian Su-27 fighter intercepted a US EP-3 Aries surveillance plane over international airspace in the Black Sea.

The Pentagon slammed the interception as a provocative assault on a lawful navigation and the intercept itself as unsafe. Moscow replied that the Aries was heading towards Russian airspace and that they took "all necessary security measures" to ensure the safety of the American pilots.

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