Russian spy ship spotted off the coast of United States

The Viktor Leonov CCB-175, a Russian Navy intelligence warship, docked in Old Havana, Cuba, on January 20, 2015. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images / File)

The US Navy spotted a Russian spy ship about 70 miles off the coast of Delaware on Tuesday that was headed north, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

Fox News reported the ship was the Viktor Leonov, an intelligence-gathering ship that can intercept intelligence from nearby transmitters with a variety of sensors, as well as measuring US Navy sonar emissions.

“We are aware of the vessel’s presence,” said Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Defence Department spokeswoman. “It has not entered US territorial waters. We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal State consistent with international law.”

US Navy spy ships conduct similar missions near Russia and in international waters around the globe.

However, the timing of this incident coincides with a flurry of news coming out of Washington about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation for having inappropriate conversations with Russia’s ambassador.

Additionally, the news broke on Tuesday that Russia has developed and deployed nuclear-capable cruise missiles that violate the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, in a move that is sure to draw a response from the US.

NOW WATCH: Top foreign policy expert: Here’s why China isn’t more outspoken about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.