Russian Subs Patrol US Coast
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2009 6:28 PM CDT
One of Russia's nuclear subs in the Akula class.   (AP Photo/Franck Prevel, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – First, Vladimir Putin shows off his biceps on vacation and now this: Two nuclear-powered Russian subs have been poking around the East Coast of the US, the New York Times reports. It's not clear what they're up to, but the move is a rare one that smacks of the Cold War. “I don’t think they’ve put two first-line nuclear subs off the US coast in about 15 years,” a naval historian tells the Times.

One is currently 200 miles off the coast somewhere, and the other recently left to visit a Cuban port. Analysts' best guess is that the Russian military is looking to save face after a recent missile embarrassment and prove it's still relevant. One bright spot: These are smaller attack subs, and while they can carry missiles, they're not big enough to launch nuclear ICBMs.