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5 Aug, 2009 14:40

“Russian subs near US waters is normal procedure” – Russian Navy

The Russian Navy says there is nothing unusual about its submarines patrolling international waters, including those off the US coast.

It follows a New York Times report that two Russian subs were spotted just 200 miles off the American coast.

“Our Navy should not be idling its time away and it is not only about fighting piracy or other international campaigns,” said Colonel General Anatoly Nagovitsyn, deputy chief of Russian Armed Forces General Staff. “It is a normal process, and those who make statements are pretty well aware of that.”

The report said that not since the Cold War have Russian submarines approached so close to America's coast.

“I don't think they have put two first-line nuclear subs off the US coast in about 15 years,” Norman Polmar, a naval historian and submarine warfare expert, was quoted by New York Times as saying.

The New York Times said that the submarines detected were Akula class. This type of submarine is provided with highly sensitive detection systems that allow them to sense water disturbances hours after an enemy submarine has passed.

Meanwhile, Admiral Igor Kasatonov, former first deputy commander of the Russian Navy told Interfax that the presence of submarines near each others' waters is routine practice.

“US submarines nearly enter our territorial waters near the Kola Peninsula when they receive such a task, and we always detect this,” he said. “We do not motivate these things politically, but only watch for the observance of security and environmental precautions.”