August 5, 2009 / 1:53 AM / 10 years ago

Russian subs patrolling off U.S. east coast - report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines have been patrolling off the Eastern seaboard of the United States in recent days in a rare mission that has raised concerns inside the Pentagon, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

While the submarines had not taken any provocative action beyond their presence outside U.S. territorial waters, officials expressed wariness over Russia’s motivation for ordering such an unusual mission, the newspaper said.

“Any time the Russian Navy does something so out of the ordinary it is cause for worry,” a senior Defence Department official who has been monitoring reports on the submarines’ activities told the newspaper.

The U.S. Navy was able to track the submarines as they made their way through international waters off the American coastline, the official told the newspaper.

“We’ve known where they were, and we’re not concerned about our ability to track the subs,” the official added. “We’re concerned just because they are there.”

One of the Russian submarines remained in international waters on Tuesday about 200 miles (320 km) off the coast of the United States and the second sub made a port call in Cuba in recent days, the newspaper said, citing Defence Department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Defence Department officials declined to speculate on what weapons might be aboard the two submarines.

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment on the report.

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