HONOLULU (AP) — The U.S. Navy has confirmed that a Russian spy ship has been stationed in international waters off Hawaii, but says its presence is not affecting military exercises.

Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Clint Ramsden said Wednesday the Russian Navy Balzam-class auxiliary general intelligence ship arrived recently. He says in a statement steps have been taken “to protect our critical information.”

The arrival of the ship comes as the Rim of the Pacific military drills are underway. The exercises for military forces from 26 nations will last through early August and include 45 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 people.

Ramsden says Russia last participated in the exercises in 2012. According to Pacific Fleet, the last time a Russian spy ship stopped by Hawaii was during the military exercises in 2004.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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