A Russian spy ship has been patrolling off the coast of Hawaii but has so far remained in international waters, the Pentagon said Thursday.

While the appearance of a Russian surveillance ship along the US coast is not unusual, it has drawn more attention due to rising US-Russian tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and veiled threats to use nuclear weapons.

The US Coast Guard released images of what it says is a Russian intelligence ship off the Hawaiian Islands in recent weeks.
The US Coast Guard released images of what it says is a Russian intelligence ship off the Hawaiian Islands in recent weeks. USCG Hawaii Pacific

The Vishnya-class surveillance ship Kareliya has been monitored by the US Coast Guard sailing near Hawaii for the past few weeks.

«I can’t explain why the Russians are sailing the ship right now, it’s a precarious time,» Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said. She said the Coast Guard is still monitoring the ship, which has been operating in international waters.

“We have not seen any unsafe or unprofessional behavior and we expect the Russians to operate within the region in accordance with international law,” Singh said.

In video posted to Twitter by the Coast Guard, the ship appears to be in tow by another ship or in resupply mode.

“The US Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring Russian ships operating in international waters in the western Pacific,” the Pentagon said in a statement. «Since Russia operates within the region, it is expected to do so in accordance with international law.»