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Moscow says chases US sub away

Russia said Saturday that it had chased away a US submarine that had approached its territorial waters in the Barents Sea.

A representative of the naval headquarters told Russian news agencies that what was believed to be a Virginia class fast attack submarine was discovered close to Russian territorial waters on Friday.

Thanks to “active measures by the Northern Fleet’s anti-submarine forces, the submarine was ‘pushed away'” from the area near Russia’s territorial waters in the Arctic, the naval official was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

An anti-submarine aircraft was also involved in the operation, in which no force was used.

The official said contact with the sub lasted 27 minutes, and was far from the only incident with foreign subs in that part of the Russian Arctic recently.

The deputy head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Leonid Kalashnikov, said on Echo of Moscow radio that such incidents are quite common.

“Occasionally other countries test how the submarine location service is working,” the lawmaker said, suggesting that the rather unusual announcement was a public relations move by the navy to call attention to their work.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.