A Russian spy ship made its way to the coast of Virginia late Wednesday night. The ship, Viktor Leonov, was spotted about 65 nautical miles away from the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday.
The ship's boundaries to stay within international waters is 12 nautical miles, according to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. In an email to NBC, spokeswoman for the Defense Department, Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson said:
“We are aware of the vessel's presence. 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.”
The ship has been operating in international waters off the east coast. An official told the Associated Press that the ship made a port call in Cuba previously and was monitored off Delaware's coast.
The ship is equipped with advanced spy equipment used to intercept signals intelligence. According to CNN, officials said that the US Navy is “keeping a close eye on it.”
During a press conference Thursday, President Trump declined to answer questions about the spy ship. He said, “Russia is a ruse” and that the media often uses conflict with Russia as a distraction. When asked what he was going to do in response to the spy ship, Trump said:
“I'm not going to tell you.”
The ship was also spotted 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut. The ship is expected to be making its way back to the Caribbean and Havana Harbor.
On Thursday, Vladimir Putin said it was in the best interest of both nations to repair their relationship with each other's intelligence agencies.