HONOLULU (KHON) — The U.S. military is tracking a Russian vessel near Hawaiian waters, according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
In a statement, a U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokeswoman told Nexstar’s KHON:
“US Indo-Pacific Command regularly monitors air and sea traffic in the Western Pacific to ensure the security and stability of the region alongside our allies and partners. As part of our normal day-to-day operations, we closely monitor all vessels in the Indo-Pacific area of operations through maritime patrol aircraft, surface vessels and joint capabilities…I can tell you that we are monitoring a Russian surface vessel operating in international waters in the vicinity of Hawaii.
Indo-PACOM covers much of East Asia, including China, North Korea and Japan, as well as countries in the Pacific Rim such as Indonesia and Australia. Like the other five Geographic Combatant Commands defined by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Unified Command Plan, Indo-PACOM “is tasked with utilizing and integrating ‘all branches of the U.S. military’ within its area of responsibility. to achieve U.S. national security objectives while protecting national interests.” Russia falls within the U.S. European Command’s “area of responsibility,” or USEUCOM.
A retired Marine lieutenant colonel said it wasn’t exactly uncommon to see him, but he was coming to the attention of the military because of the war in Ukraine.
“I have no doubt that Indo-PACOM is watching this closely, as are a number of other intelligence organizations trying to figure out exactly what this is,” retired Lt. Col. Hal Kempfer said. “They don’t just monitor the ship. They monitor anything that might be connected and get real details about what he’s doing, why he might be there, who they report to. All of these things go into a merging process, an analytical process, if you will, that tells us whether it’s a threat or whether it’s not a threat.
Kempfer added that during the Cold War, Soviet intelligence ships would loiter near Hawaii and that Russia used tactics similar to those of the Cold War-era Soviets in general.
“The tactics, techniques and procedures that we saw the Soviets do during the Cold War seem to be resurfacing under the Russian banner,” Kempfer said. “It sounds like one of those issues that I would point out to Russian intelligence vessels potentially off Hawaii.”
A U.S. congressional delegation, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visited Ukraine and Poland over the weekend. They embarked on a surprise trip to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy on Saturday before heading to Poland the next day.
Their visit came two days after US President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia, more than double the initial aid measure of $13.6 billion. dollars that Congress signed into law early last month and which is now nearly exhausted. As the war enters its third month, the measure was designed to signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that US weaponry and other forms of assistance were not going away.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.