Russian Ships Could Cause 'Catastrophe' for West by Cutting Transatlantic Internet Cables

Cold War codswollop Cash-strapped UK Defense Chief deploys Russian deep-sea cable scare story

Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Stuart Peach

"There is a new risk to our life, which is the vulnerability of the cables that criss-cross the seas". While many might assume that the internet is networked across ethereal, sky-bound streams, the reality is altogether more tangible, as this interactive submarine cable map shows.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute defence think tank, air chief marshal Sir Stuart Peach called on Britain and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to prioritise the protection of the vital communications cables that run between countries and continents.

Keir Giles, a Russian information warfare expert with the think tank Chatham House, told BBC News that concerns about Russian interference with undersea cables is not a new concern or a likely event, "but it is definitely a scenario for which they are practicing".

"Therefore we must continue to develop our maritime forces with our allies, with whom we are working very closely, to match and understand Russian fleet modernization", which he said included "new ships and submarines" and efforts "to flawless both unconventional capabilities and information warfare". Russian forces have a precedent for severing communications cables, after it cut Crimea off from the outside world in order to annexe it.

'It is simply true we must adapt and not with nostalgic sentimental ways.

Sir Stuart added: 'The risks posed by unmanned small boats packed with high explosives is not a theory or a movie story it is a reality.

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Sir Stuart's comments came after Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russian submarine activity around Britain's coast has increased tenfold in the last six years.

"We need to innovate".

A Policy Exchange report published earlier this month claims Russian submarines have been "aggressively operating" near Atlantic cables as part of the country's "broader interest in unconventional methods of warfare".

Sea traffic often inadvertently clips a cable, cutting the line with its anchor or a ship's body, but such mishaps happen in shallow depths, nearer to shore, and repairs can be relatively quick.

Around 97 per cent of global communications from the United Kingdom are transmitted through cables laid on the sea bed, but they are "uniquely vulnerable" to sabotage, according to a Policy Exchange report written by Rishi Sunak MP.

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