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US Navy denies Moscow's claims that a Virginia sub entered Russian waters

The US Navy (USN) has disputed claims by Moscow that one of its submarines had entered Russian territorial waters.

According to a Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announcement on 12 February, a USN Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) had entered Russian waters near Urup Island, which is part of the Kuril archipelago.

However, the USN has disputed these claims. “There is no truth to the Russian claims of our operations in their territorial waters,” a spokesperson for the USN's Indo-Pacific command said in a statement.

The MoD said the submarine was detected by the Russian Pacific Fleet, which was conducting exercises at the time, and a message was relayed to the vessel using underwater communications informing its crew that they had entered Russian waters and should surface immediately. The message was ignored and the Russian Navy's Udaloy-class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov used “appropriate means” to intercept the submarine, the MoD added, without clarifying what measures were used. However, Russian newspaper TASS cited a Russian submarine officer as saying that warning depth charges had been deployed, and that the Shaposhnikov's MGK-355 Polinom sonar suite was deployed to track the vessel, which confirmed that it was a Virginia-class submarine.

According to the MoD, the US submarine deployed a decoy designed to replicate its signal and left Russian waters at maximum speed.

A note was sent to the US Defence Attaché in Moscow, but the incident was not discussed during the presidential phone call between Biden and Putin on 12 February, a Kremlin presidential aide said.

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