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Russian ship off the coast of Florida

FLORIDA -- A Russian research ship called the Yanter is off the coast of Florida after making its way down the East Coast toward Cuba, defense officials told CBS News' David Martin.

The ship is equipped with an underwater submersible. The belief is that the ship is mapping U.S. communications cables. The submersible is also capable of cutting undersea cables, but the new Cold War hasn't come to that yet, Martin reports.

The presence of foreign vessels and aircraft near U.S. territory is nothing new. Russian military jets operating close to U.S. airspace have prompted air defense responses in the past.

Russia believed to be behind Pentagon cyber attack 08:16

Just Wednesday, a U.S. official said five Chinese warships had moved into the Bering Sea near Alaska after participating in a naval exercise with Russia.

President Barack Obama was in northern Alaska near the Arctic Circle to discuss climate change. But officials said the U.S. military had been aware of ships and had been tracking their movements for days.

The official said the ships were operating in international waters and were not viewed as a threat.

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