Connecticut’s Congressional delegation was quick to sound the alarm bells Wednesday morning when it confirmed a Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov was spotted 30 miles off the coast of the Groton submarine base.
The ship, which was pictured in the Port of Curacao in 2014, was in international waters, but was “loitering” there, according to officials.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, whose district includes the submarine base, spoke about the incident for about five-minutes Wednesday morning on the floor of the U.S. House.
He said Russia was loitering off the coast of Connecticut “with aggressive intent.”
“We need to really disavow ourselves of any naive assumptions that somehow the Putin government is somehow something that we can trust and shows any regard for international norms or international law,” Courtney said.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said it’s not “wholly unprecedented,” but “it’s part of a series of aggressive actions by Russia that threaten U.S. national security and the security of our allies.”
He mentioned the four Russian jets that buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea on Friday and the fact that Russia deployed a ground-launched cruise missile inside its borders. Murphy said the later is a violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
He encouraged President Donald Trump’s administration which seems to have a complicated relationship with the Kremlin to “end their silence and immediately respond to these threats to our national security.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the threat needs to be taken seriously.
“It reflects a clear need to harden our defenses against electronic surveillance and cyber espionage,” Blumenthal said.
“The return of a Russian vessel is particularly concerning in the context of escalating Russian aggression – within days of the Russian’s buzzing a U.S. Navy ship in the Black Sea, as well as deploying a cruise missile in violation of our arms control treaty – which only underscores the need for an independent investigation into possible collusion between the Trump administration and Russian agents.”
U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and Elizabeth Esty also commented on the Russian spy ship.
“It is long past time for the White House to stop making excuses for Vladimir Putin and respond to his acts of thuggery with the toughness our security demands,” Esty said.
It’s unclear whether their concerns will be heard by Trump, who tweeted Wednesday morning that “Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?”