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U.S. Denies Attack Submarine ‘Expelled’ From Barents Sea

An April 2014 photo of a Russian Ilyushin Il-38 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft. The U.S. denied reports a similar aircraft chased off a U.S. Virginia-class submarine from the Barents Sea.

An April 2014 photo of a Russian Ilyushin Il-38 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft. The U.S. denied reports a similar aircraft chased off a U.S. Virginia-class submarine from the Barents Sea.

Reports that a U.S. Navy submarine was chased from away from Russian controlled waters by Russian anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft on Aug. 7 are false, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) officials told USNI News on Monday.

“There is no truth to this story; there was no U.S. submarine in the area,” read a statement from EUCOM.
“Unknown on other nations, but it was not U.S., and we had nothing in any
boundary area on the day in question.”

The EUCOM statement follows a weekend report from Russian newswire Interfax that said Russian anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces had chased off a U.S. Virginia-class nuclear attack boat from the Barents Sea.


View Barents Sea in a larger map

Surface and air elements — including at least one Ilyushin Il-38 ASW aircraft — of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet had expelled the submarine from Russian “boundary waters,” a Northern Fleet spokesman told Interfax.

“The Northern Fleet anti-submarine forces’ active maneuvers expelled the submarine from the Russian Federation’s boundary waters,” the spokesman said.

The Barents Sea is on the Russia and Norway’s Arctic shore.

The weekend’s back and forth between the Russian Navy and EUCOM is the latest indicator of rising tensions between Western allies and Russia since the Russian seizure of the Crimea region of Ukraine in March.

Last week, Russian fighters attempted to interdict an U.S. Air Force Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint over the Baltic Sea. In April, two Russian fighters buzzed USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) in the Black Sea.

In the last two years, the Russian Navy has expanded its presence in the Arctic. The service has reactivated ten bases along the so-called North East Passage.

Likewise, the U.S. Navy often operates in the Arctic. U.S. nuclear attack boats frequently travel under the icepack to transit back and forth between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Categories: Aviation, Foreign Forces, News & Analysis, Submarine Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute.
He was formerly the U.S. Maritime Correspondent for the Washington D.C. bureau of Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Navy International. In his role he covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Sam is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Military Institute.