A Russian intelligence ship, capable of cutting undersea communications cables and other sensors, has been spotted by the U.S. military off the coast of Kings Bay, Ga., home to the U.S. Navy’s East Coast ballistic missile submarine fleet.
U.S. military satellites have been tracking the Russian spy ship since it was spotted in the north Atlantic last month and slowly began transiting toward its next destination -- Cuba. A senior military official said the ship is now about 300 miles off the coast of the U.S., as it heads toward the island.
Another senior defense official told Fox News that while the Pentagon is tracking the Russian intel ship, the Russian ship “remains in international waters.”
When asked if the U.S. had similar spy ships off the coast of Russia, he answered, “Of course we do, what do you think all those ‘oceanographic ships’ are doing, studying whales?”
At the U.S. sub base in Georgia, there are six Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, known as “boomers,” each capable of firing 24 Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles. Each missile holds up to 10 independent nuclear warheads. In addition to the ballistic missile subs, there are two other guided-missile subs capable of firing hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles.
In January, another Russian spy ship was spotted moored in Havana harbor in Cuba. Russian intel ships have been spotted in Cuba on a number of occasions in the past year.
The Washington Free Beacon was first to report the most recent sighting of the Russian spy ship.
In April, the head of the U.S. military’s Northern Command, Adm. Bill Gortney, confirmed the presence of two other Russian military ships operating near the United States at the time.
Separately, five Chinese warships were spotted in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska during President Obama’s visit to the state – but they have turned around and are heading back in the direction of China, according to a defense official briefed on the latest intelligence Thursday morning.
“They were the same ships that took part in the Russian-Chinese naval exercises which recently concluded in the Sea of Japan,” the official said.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews