East End Can Defend Against Russian Spy Ship Off Montauk

A Vishnya class Russian intelligence ship
A Vishnya class Russian intelligence ship, Photo: Official U.S. Navy photograph, Serg_v/123RF

A top story in Newsday Wednesday was about this Russian spy ship which is lurking in the Atlantic Ocean just south of Montauk. It is called the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov and it was first reported by Fox News who received this information from the Pentagon. The ship had been lurking 30 miles south of Groton, Connecticut, which is home to the largest nuclear submarine base on the East Coast. Its last port of call was Havana. But that was two weeks ago.

The ship is in international waters as long as it remains 12 nautical miles from shore, so it is legal to be there. But it coincides with the Russians’ recent secret deployment of a cruise missile, which is in violation of the nuclear arms treaty America signed with the old Soviet Union in 1987. It is also just a week after four Russian military airplanes buzzed an American destroyer in legal waters on the Black Sea.

Thirty miles offshore is just about as far as a person standing on a dune on the ocean beach can see on the southern horizon. If the day is clear, it could be possible to see the guided missile tubes, conning towers and the giant white sphere that houses all the electronic internet equipment that could force its way into the websites of the various military and civilian facilities around here.

It should be pointed out that the 15 giant, 600-foot steel turbine windmills that are expected to be built in the ocean in the next few years to provide electricity to the East End of Long Island would be 35 miles off Montauk, and if they’d been built already, which they have not been, they would, at this time, be in a position to cut this Russian ship in two if it dawdled too close.

Regardless of the incoherent federal relationship with Russia, patting it on the back with one hand while keeping in place economic sanctions with the other, there is little doubt that the East End could offer a stiff defense against this ship and its Russian masters should she try to venture in.

Along with the fine men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Montauk, who protect our shores every day, there are some more alternative defenses.

Surfers off Montauk could be in a position to spot the ship as it arrives and in its secret hand-signal code sound the alarm. The newly invented potato bazooka, that all farmers keep in their barns here in case of such an aggression, can be deployed on the shoulders of young men ready to fire spuds at the intruder. It also might be possible to unleash attacks by wood ticks, shore birds, dogs and other pets.

The former military base at Montauk’s Camp Hero still has the concrete hoods and caves that once housed giant shore guns during the Second World War that could hurl shells 24 miles out to sea. The former World War I torpedo testing station could be revived at Sag Harbor, and its counterpart in Fort Pond Bay during World War II could be revived. Secret messages could also be posted at the Shagwong Restaurant in Montauk or out at the eastern most facility of Gurney’s Inn, which the Russians surely think is still called the Panoramic.

And spies, or at least gossip columnists, abound in the Hamptons, ready to report on the doings of any Russian interlopers.

Finally, as an emergency final defense after a successful Russian landing at the beach: All the old English wooden windmills in the Hamptons—there are 11 of them— could be started up and pointed south to blow the invaders back out to sea.

And, of course, there is the old retired Virginia class Navy submarine that is now owned by the Hampton Police Department that could give chase.

Don’t mess with Montauk and the Hamptons, Vladimir. We’re making the East End Great Again.

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