Russian spy ship spotted off coast of Wilmington

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) — What was a Russian spy ship doing off the coast of Wilmington today?

A lot of people in our area are probably asking the same question after U.S. defense officials told CNN the Viktor Leonov was spotted 100 miles southeast of Wilmington in international waters on Monday.

Military officials told CNN the Russian ship is being tracked by the USS Cole and other US Navy assets. It’s unclear where the ship is headed, but the CNN story said it has traveled up the eastern seaboard near U.S. naval installations at Cape Canaveral, King’s Bay, Norfolk and New London in the past.

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An official said the ship is likely on a 4-6 month deployment off the East Coast where it will be conducting intelligence operations. The Viktor Leonov is equipped with high-tech spy equipment meant to intercept communication signals.

The ship was spotted last March south of Kings Bay near the Florida border and in February 2017, the same ship was seen 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut, the farthest north it had ever ventured, according to an official.

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