Why Are Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.?

"The movement of military ships in international waters cannot be called a violation in any way," the official told Interfax. "The Russian navy systematically detects NATO submarines, particularly U.S. submarines close to Russian territorial waters." The official continued, "However, this has never been a reason to create a fuss in the press since international maritime law is not being violated. Therefore, any hysteria is out of place in this case."

Though the submarine activity has raised eyebrows at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a Senate committee this past January that he was not too concerned by the Russian navy's renewed capabilities in the region last fall.

"I felt that our best response to the Russian ship visits to Venezuela was nonchalance," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "In fact, if it hadn't been for the events in Georgia in August, I would've tried to persuade the president to invite the Russian ships to pay a port call in Miami, because I think they would've had a lot better time than they did in Caracas."

Gates told the committee that the drop in world's oil prices had reduced Russia's income and its ability to build up its navy."At 40 dollar oil the Russian navy does not bother me very much."

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