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Russian spy ship is docked in Havana harbor

Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov enters the port of Havana on the morning of March 16, 2018.
Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov enters the port of Havana on the morning of March 16, 2018. CNN

The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov, which the Pentagon has been monitoring because it has sailed uncomfortably close to U.S. waters on several occasions, docked at the port of Havana on Friday.

Photos taken by CNN’s Havana correspondent, Patrick Oppmann, show the ship sailing past an American cruise ship as it made its way into the harbor.

The high-tech spy ship, which is also armed with missiles, has been deployed by Russia to carry out intelligence-gathering missions in the Caribbean and near the U.S. coast.

Pentagon officials told the Washington Free Beacon that the ship had been seen leaving Trinidad and Tobago with an unknown destination in mid-January. Days later, the ship was spotted in international waters about 100 miles off the coast of Virginia, CNN reported.

Where the Russian ship travels in the Caribbean and near U.S. waters has been closely monitored by the Navy and the Pentagon. It has been spotted near locations where U.S. naval installations operate. In February 2017, the ship was seen only 30 miles off the coast of Connecticut. Previously, it was spotted sailing near Cape Canaveral, Florida, and 20 miles south of a submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia.

On previous occasions, the Russian spy ship has docked in Cuba to load supplies. In January 2015, it arrived unannounced the day before the arrival of a U.S. delegation led by Roberta Jacobson, then the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, who was in charge of negotiations for the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Follow Nora Gámez Torres on Twitter: @ngameztorres

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