The Pentagon is monitoring an intelligence gathering ship that Russia dispatched to the Caribbean Sea, defense officials said in a Washington Free Beacon report.
Two officials familiar with reports of the spy ship Viktor Leonov said the ship was spotted leaving Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago Monday after five days on the island, The Free Beacon reported.
"We're monitoring [the ship]. It's an annual thing," one of the officials said in The Free Beacon.
An official said that the Navy is tracking the ship, and it appears similar to previous Russian operations in that region, the report said.
"What makes it noteworthy is the increase of Russian naval activity worldwide. It makes us pay close attention, not to the tactics, but to how this fits into overall Russian naval behavior," the official said in the report.
The ship usually spends about two months spying off of the U.S.'s east coast, said Steffan Watkins, Canadian security analyst, in the report.
"I believe their mission is to take inventory of underwater sensors, military undersea cables, sonar, radar, and snooping on rocket telemetry from launches at Cape Canaveral," Watkins said in The Free Beacon.
Watkins criticized reports of the ship being involved in Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "These deployments are military-intelligence related, routine, and unrelated to any president," Watkins said in the report.
The ship was spotted in March of 2017 off the east coast of Florida.
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