Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are heating up over the Pacific in the last month.
To recap, we first noted a Russian Navy surveillance ship parked in international waters off Kauai, an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago, last month. Fast forward to last weekend, and three armed Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors were scrambled as the Russian Navy conducted a massive war exercise 300 to 500 miles west of the Aloha State. Now, the same Russian spy ship is causing another stir - this time north of Oahu.
U.S. Naval Institute News, which was the first to report the ship's presence last month, loitering in international waters off Kauai, delayed a Missile Defense Agency missile test. According to Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the vessel is a Russian Navy Vishnya-class auxiliary general intelligence ship Kareliya (SSV-535), which was detected this week just north of Oahu.
"U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring the Russian vessels operating in international waters in the Western Pacific," Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for the Oahu-based command, said. "As part of our normal daily operations, we closely track all vessels in the Indo-Pacific area of operations through maritime patrol aircraft, surface ships and joint capabilities."
He added that "We operate in accordance with international law of the sea and in the air to ensure that all nations can do the same without fear or contest and in order to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific. As Russia operates within the region, it is expected to do so in accordance with international law."
Much of the attention this week has been centered around Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden's meeting in Geneva while the events playing out around Hawaii and in the Pacific, as Russia flexes its naval muscles, go unnoticed by the mainstream media.