Donald Trump has suggested the American people want him to blow up a Russian spy ship that is lurking 30 miles off the US coast.
The President said “everyone in this country would say, ohh, it’s so great” if he shot the Viktor Leonov, a Russian intelligence gathering ship, which lies off the coast of Connecticut.
But at the same time, Mr Trump argued that a good diplomatic relationship with the Kremlin was crucial.
“The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water,” he said. “Everyone in this country is going to say, ‘ohh, it’s so great'. That’s not great. That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia.
“Now, you’ve had a lot of presidents who haven’t taken that tack. Look where we are now, look where we are now."
He added: “So, if I can. I love to negotiate things. I do it really well. I’ve done all that stuff. But it’s possible I won’t be able to get on with Putin. Maybe it is.”
At least one US official has admitted that one of Russia's naval vessels, which conducted similar patrols in 2014 and 2015, sits off the coast of Delaware.
The Vishnya-class vessel is believed to be kitted out with high-tech spying equipment and is designed to intercept intelligence signals.
The US Navy is “keeping a close eye” on the ship, according to CNN, and it is believed to be the furthest north the Russian vessel has ever ventured.