NOW: U.S. Coast Guard Tracking Spy Ship

( – The U.S. Coast Guard has been tracking a spy ship seemingly sent by Putin’s Russia near Hawaii for several weeks, the U.S. military branch has announced.

The development comes amid heightened US-Russian tensions over Moscow’s invasion of a pro-Western and democratic Ukraine launched 11 months ago by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“In recent weeks, the U.S. Coast Guard has continued to monitor a Russian vessel, believed to be an intelligence gathering ship, off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands,” the service said in a news release.

The Coast Guard noted how the Russian ship’s activity differed from typical maritime transit, even for other nations’ military vessels.

“While foreign military vessels may transit freely through the U.S. economic exclusive zone (EEZ), as per customary international laws, foreign-flagged military vessels have often been observed operating and loitering within Coast Guard District Fourteen’s area of response,” the service said.

The External Affairs chief of the U.S. Coast Guard, Cmdr. Dave Milne additionally weighed in on the Russian spying on America near Hawaii.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is currently monitoring the Russian vessel operating in the vicinity of Hawaii. As part of our daily operations, we track all vessels in the Pacific area through surface and air assets and joint agency capabilities,” Milne said.

“The Coast Guard operates in accordance with international laws of the sea to ensure all nations can do the same without fear or contest. This is especially critical to secure freedom of movement and navigation throughout the Blue Pacific,” the high-ranking military officer added.

Earlier this week, the Coast Guard made public a video clip of the foreign vessel filmed while traveling off the coast of Hawaii earlier in January, commenting that it was “believed to be an intelligence gathering ship.”

The current Russian naval spying mission near Hawaii is not the first of its kind, as Moscow’s spy ships have approached America’s coast before.

In 2019, a Russian surveillance ship came near the coast of the Southeastern United States. It was detected operating in an “unsafe manner,” according to two U.S. government officials cited by CNN.

The Russian spy ship that sailed near the coast of Florida and South Carolina at the time was the Viktor Leonov, a Cold War-era intelligence collection vessel built for the navy of the former Soviet Union and launched in 1985.

In 2019, the Viktor Leonov ship’s actions were considered unsafe by the U.S. government because the Russian vessel was sailing near the American coast without running lights in weather with low visibility.

It also wasn’t responding to the communication signals of commercial vessels seeking to avoid possible incidents.

“[The U.S. Coast Guard] continues to coordinate with Department of Defense partners, providing updates to foreign vessel movements and activities and to appropriately meet presence with presence to encourage international maritime norms,” the service declared on the new Russian spying ship near Hawaii.