The ship is approximately 30 miles from the naval base which is in international waters. According to the U.N. The Convention on the Law of the Sea, the boundary for the ship to remain in international waters is 12 nautical miles.
"We are aware of the vessel's presence," Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Defense Department, said. "It has not entered U.S. territorial waters. We respect freedom of navigation exercised by all nations beyond the territorial sea of a coastal State consistent with international law."
The ship, Viktor Leonov, is expected to sail down the east coast and head to the Caribbean. As of now, the White House has not commented on the presence of the ship.
Although the ship has not broken any laws, lawmakers have voiced their concerns following reported hacking of the US elections as well as the Michael Flynn incident.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, who serves on the Armed Services Committee and is the ranking member of the Sea power and Projection Forces Subcommittee, called it an "unacceptable, aggressive action." He added that a spy ship patrolling 30 miles from the Groton base underscored the threats posed by a resurgent Russia were real.
On Wednesday, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut tweeted that Russia was behaving like it had a permission slip to expand influence and test limits by placing a ship so close to the US.