Canada Monitoring Russian Sub Movements on East Coast
A pair of nuclear-powered Russian submarines have made their way up the East Coast of the USA into waters off Canada. The attack subs were sighted off Georgia on August 5 and were monitored by the Pentagon for the duration of their presence near the US. The Canadian Department of National Defence has taken a similar precaution by dispatching a surveillance plane to keep an eye on the Akula-class vessels.
Akula-class subs are equipped with surface-loaded cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles but are not believed to pose any kind of threat, defense officials said.
However, Russian subs in neighboring waters are a forceful reminder of the Cold War, when coastline patrolling between the U.S. and Soviet Union was a common practice.
The arrival of the Russian subs off the North American seaboard is the first documented time in more than a decade the country has operated vessels in the region, according to military historians.
It is unclear whether the action taken to watch the vessels was a Canadian initiative or requested by the U.S. Northern Command, according to cbc.ca
Russian officials insist that the submarines are part of a harmless naval exercise:
The patrol is just a matter of the country's fleet not sitting idle or continuing to travel around in circles on Russia's internal routes, he said: "The navy should not stay idle at its moorings."
Deputy chief of staff for the Russian armed forces, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovistsyn, said the unannounced sub movements are "part of a normal process" and are traveling within recognized international regulations. There is no need for "hysteria" about their presence, Nogovistsyn told Reuters.