A Russian Navy surveillance ship parked in international waters off Kauai, an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago, has delayed a Missile Defense Agency missile test, according to Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The US Pacific Fleet confirmed Wednesday that it "is aware of the Russian vessel operating in international waters in the vicinity of Hawaii, and will continue to track it through the duration of its time here."
The ship has been operating in international waters just 13 nautical miles west of Kauai for several days. The vessel is not broadcasting an automatic identification system signal.
"Through maritime patrol aircraft, surface ships and joint capabilities, we can closely monitor all vessels in the Indo-Pacific area of operations," US Pacific Fleet's statement continued.
U.S. Naval Institute News first identified the presence of the spy ship, indicating it was a Russian Navy Vishnya-class auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship Kareliya (SSV-535). Honolulu Star-Advertiser then expanded on this and said the vessel is in the vicinity of the Pacific Missile Range and has "delayed" a missile test.
The question remains: Why does a Russian signals intelligence vessel sit off the coast of Kauai? Is Moscow sending the Biden administration a message of new strength in the Pacific?