US deploys aircraft carrier off coast where Russian ship was spotted 27 miles from shore

Viktor Leonov

SPY SHIP: The Viktor Leonov, a Russian Navy intelligence warship (Getty)

 

A US aircraft carrier has been dispatched from a naval base in Virginia days after a Russian spy ship was spotted just 27 miles off the coast.

The USS George HW Bush, a Nimitz-class supercarrier, was deployed from Naval Station Norfolk, in southeastern Virginia, on Tuesday morning, according to maritime traffic monitors.

Naval trackers show the 1,092ft aircraft carrier is sailing through the Atlantic Ocean but details of its mission were not immediately available.

The last mission involving the USS George HW Bush was a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve – the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The deployment comes less than a week after Russian intelligence vessel the Viktor Leonov was tracked off the coast of Virginia, home to the USS George HW Bush.

The Viktor Leonov, part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, was tailed by US Navy ships including destroyer USS Cole.

A US military plane, a P-8A Poseidon, was launched from Naval Air Station Jacksonville to track the Russian ship, flight trackers showed.

At its closest, the Russian ship sailed just 24 nautical miles (27 miles) off the coast of Norfolk on the US east coast.

Citing the latest tracking data, Steffan Watkins, a naval security analyst from Canada, said the Viktor Leonov is now 350km east of Atlantic City, off New Jersey’s Atlantic coast.

Flight monitors show a P-8A Poseidon, dubbed the “submarine killer”, was sent to the region earlier this week in an apparent mission to monitor the ship, he told Daily Star Online.

US officials believe the Viktor Leonov is currently on a four-to-six month mission to gather intelligence off the US coast coast.

The vessel is a high-tech 300-feet-long spy ship designed to intercept electronic signals, such a radio.

The US Navy has spotted the ship in several locations in recent months, including Cape Canaveral, Florida; Kings Bay, Georgia, Virginia and New London.

Last March, the Viktor Leonov was spotted 20 miles south of the US Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, near the Florida border.

In February last year, Trump said he could get “tough” on Russia but stressed him would prefer to “make a deal”.

To illustrate his point, Trump said the “greatest thing I could do” was shoot the Viktor Leonov “right out of the water”.

“Everyone will say, ‘Oh, it’s so great, it’s so great,” Trump added. “That’s not great.”

Full article: US deploys aircraft carrier off coast where Russian ship was spotted 27 miles from shore (Daily Star)

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