Russian spy ship spotted off Carolina coast, officials say

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Russian spy ship spotted off Carolina coast, officials say

A Russian spy ship that appeared to be on course for United States coastal waters last week is now being tracked by the U.S. Navy, which has spotted it 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina, CNN reported.

CNN pointed out, however, that Viktor Leonov "routinely performs this mission", as the vessel was seen conducting similar patrols several times over the course of the last few years.

"It's an annual thing..."

But while United States media outlets appeared eager to report on the movements of a Russian vessel in worldwide waters, the adventures of American naval ships and surveillance planes skirting the territories of other nations receive less coverage.

One Coast Guard officer taunted Viktor Leonov's ability to gather valuable intelligence from its passage near USA naval installations previous year, noting that commercial radio might be the best signal that the ship catches.

Military officials told CNN the Russian ship is being tracked by the USS Cole and other US Navy assets.

That information is based upon previous travel patterns, KIFI-TV noted.

A Russian intelligence ship was reportedly seen performing a routine assignment in the Atlantic.

The U.S. Southern Command told Newsweek last week that the military was "aware" of foreign vessels in the U.S. hemisphere and said they recognize nations' right to navigate global waters.

"We work closely with our interagency partners to be aware of maritime contacts of interest, while recognizing the right of sovereign nations to freely navigate in global waters and visit countries they have agreements with".

In a separate statement, a spokesman for the Pentagon told Newsweek, "The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Fleet Forces track all vessels, foreign and domestic, and we're well aware of what is in the area".

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