Connecticut congressmen express concern over Russian ship off US coast

This January 2015 photo depicts the Russian intelligence-collection

This January 2015 photo depicts the Russian intelligence-collection ship believed to be off the coast of the United States. This was while the ship was traveling near Cuba in 2015. (File photo) (Credit: File photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. - Congressmen from Connecticut are expressing concern over reports of a Russian intelligence-collection ship traveling near a U.S. naval submarine base off the coast of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Joe Courtney issued statements Wednesday condemning what they described as Russia's increasing aggression.

A U.S. defense official said Tuesday the Russian ship has been operating in international waters off the East Coast. The official said it made a port call in Cuba previously and was monitored off Delaware's coast. Courtney said the vessel was later spotted about 30 miles from the submarine base in Groton, Connecticut.

The U.S. Navy conducts similar intelligence-gathering operations against Russian military targets, such as its submarine bases, from international waters.

The Democratic congressmen are calling on Republican President Donald Trump to address Russia's actions.

The ship’s reported sighting comes as more questions arise over former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s involvement with Russia.

Flynn, a former director of the agency who was asked to leave that post, was forced to resign this week after the White House said he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. before the inauguration.

Former directors of the agency are routinely allowed to keep their clearances so that they can advise the current director.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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