The Latvian armed forces spotted a Russian submarine in the exclusive economic zone of Latvia on March 16, reports BBC.
The warship was seen at a distance of 27 nautical miles from the territorial waters of the country. The vessel was a Russian Project 877 Paltus submarine, the National Assembly of Latvia said.
The Armed forces confirmed that there were two Russian Kilo-class submarines and a research vessel outside the country’s territorial waters.
The Kilo-class vessels, to use their NATO classification, have been deployed by the Soviet, and then the Russian navy since the early 1980s. Nimble and quiet, they have traditionally been named “black holes” for their stealth capabilities.
Last year, Riga alleged that Russian vessels were spotted 50 times off the coast of Latvia, and planes flew around its airspace 200 times. At no point did they violate Latvian borders
, but the three Baltic states scrambled their jets 112 times last year, to escort Russian planes out of their territory.
In November 2014 and February 2015 submarines and corvettes of the Russian navy appeared
in the exclusive economic zone of Latvia. Unlike territorial waters, exclusive economic zones are not closed to warships of other states.
Russia has been stepping up naval and aerial activities in recent months, with military aircraft frequently spotted close to, or even briefly crossing into, the airspace of other countries, including Estonia and the UK.
Baltic countries have become increasingly concerned about their own sovereignty since Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, fearing that a precedent of annexation during Soviet times and their geographical location on Russia's doorstep could see them sucked into a wider regional conflict.