The US Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine has been detected in Russian territorial waters off the Kuril Islands, as reported by the Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday, February 12.
As stated, the vessel was found submerged off the small uninhabited island of Urup while Russia’s Pacific Fleet was holding exercises in the area. Russian vessels contacted the submarine, warning it was in the country’s territorial waters and ordering it to surface immediately. The submarine, however, did not respond to the messages, and destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov was deployed to chase it off using “appropriate means”.
“The American submarine used a self-propelled simulator to split targets on radar and acoustic monitoring equipment and left the territorial waters of the Russian Federation at maximum speed,” the Russian Defence Ministry’s report says.
Shortly after the incident, the Russian Defence Ministry reportedly summoned a US military attache to explain the incursion. Moscow stressed that the actions of the submarine constitute a major violation of international law, and create a threat to Russia’s national security. The military said it reserves the right to take any security measures in its own territorial waters.
However, the US Navy has denied an allegation that one of its nuclear-powered submarines violated Russia’s territorial waters amid rising geopolitical tensions between the countries.
“There is no truth to the Russian claims of our operations in their territorial waters,” the US Navy Captain Kyle Raines said.
Though while issuing the denial Raines declined to specify where US submarines were operating at that moment.
“I will not comment on the precise location of our submarines, but we do fly, sail and operate safely in international waters,” Raines claimed.
The alleged incursion came on the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden spoke by phone over escalating tensions in Ukraine. The Biden administration has warned for weeks of a potentially imminent “Russian invasion” of Ukraine, though Moscow has repeatedly said it does not pose any threat to anyone.
At present, the detachment of ships of the Pacific Fleet continues scheduled exercises, including monitoring the underwater environment in order to prohibit violations of the Russian state border.