Russian spy ship conducting 'erratic maneuvers' off US coast: report

A Russian spy ship is conducting “erratic maneuvers” while operating off the southeast coast of the United States, officials told CNN.

According to the officials, the surveillance ship, the Viktor Leonov, has been present along the coast of South Carolina and Florida over the past few days, CNN reported Tuesday.

Two U.S. officials told the network that the ship was operating in an “unsafe manner” by not using lights in low-visibility weather and not responding to surrounding commercial vessels who are attempting to share their position to avoid accidents.

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A U.S. Coast Guard official told The Hill that the Coast Guard was sending out a “Marine Safety Information Bulletin” to inform other boats of the Russian ship and its “unsafe” operating manner.

According to the report, the Russian vessel usually monitors international waters along the east coast annually since 2015 and sometimes also surveils the Caribbean. A defense official told CNN that the USS Mahan, a destroyer, was near the Viktor Leonov.

The discovery of the ship came after a U.S. destroyer conducted a “scheduled port visit” in Constanta, Romania, Monday, an area with high Russian military presence since its invasion of Crimea in 2014.

This incident is the latest in a tense relationship between Russia and the U.S., as Russia worries the U.S. will stray from the last nuclear arms deal and the U.S. is wary of Russian interference in elections.

Updated at 1:50 p.m.