'This Is Just Another Example Of Russia Pushing The Envelope,' Peter King Says

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — While there’s growing concern over reports of a Russian spy ship nearing the coast of Connecticut, Congressman Peter King said it doesn’t appear to pose any threat to the United States.

The ship was spotted in international waters about 30 miles from a U.S. Naval submarine base in Groton, the Pentagon said. A U.S. defense official said it previously made a port call in Cuba and was monitored off Delaware’s coast.

King, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, believes it’s a propaganda move by Russia.

“It’s just another example of Russia pushing the envelope,” the Republican congressman said. “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a dangerous person, but this is really no threat to us right now, but having said that, it’s being very, very carefully monitored in every possible way by the Coast Guard and by the entire U.S. defense establishment.”

Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes, a Democrat, believes Putin is playing politics on the high seas.

“It’s a political statement by Russia saying, ‘OK, when the White House is in turmoil, when you don’t have a national security adviser, we’re going to provoke a little bit,'” Himes said.

Ultimately, King and Himes said this is nothing new — the U.S. and Russia have been spying on each other for decades.

“They try these things occasionally just to get people’s attention, but there’s no imminent threat, there’s no imminent danger, it’s really been going on one way or the other for the last 50 years,” King said. “I think Putin is trying to tell the U.S. and tell the world that Russia is still a real player, that they have to be contended with, that they can’t be pushed to the side.”

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

On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney issued statements condemning what they described as Russia’s increasing aggression. The Democratic congressmen are calling on Republican President Donald Trump to address Russia’s actions.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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