Russia cutting submarine cables could be an act of war, says UK defense chief

Admiral Sir Radakin warned of threats posed by Russia in an interview with The Times (Ben Birchall / PA)

The head of the British armed forces warned that Russian submarine activity threatened submarine cables essential to communication systems around the world.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said the undersea cables that transmit Internet data are “the world’s true information system”, and added that any attempt to damage them could be considered an “act of war” .

Speaking to The Times in his first interview since taking office, Sir Tony – a former head of the Royal Navy – said there had been a “phenomenal increase in underwater and submarine activity. -Russian Navy ‘over the past 20 years.

Russia has increased the capacity to threaten these submarine cables and potentially exploit these submarine cables.

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin

He said this meant that Moscow could “endanger and potentially exploit the world’s real information system, namely the submarine cables that go around the world.”

“This is where most of the world’s information and traffic goes. Russia has developed the capacity to threaten these submarine cables and potentially exploit these submarine cables. “

The Navy has been tracking Russian submarine activity, with a collision between HMS Northumberland and a Russian submarine sparking speculation over cable mapping activity.

The December 2020 collision was filmed by a Channel 5 documentary crew who were working on a television series called Warship: Life At Sea.

In his interview, Sir Tony also said the UK needs to develop hypersonic missiles to face military competition.

He highlighted Russia’s hypersonic and long-range missile capability as a threat and Britain’s comparative capabilities as a weakness. “We don’t have them and we have to have them,” he said.

Sir Tony also said he had briefed ministers on Britain’s “military choices” if Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, but did not reveal any other information.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has previously said it would be “highly unlikely” for the UK to send troops in the event of an invasion, while The Times reports that cyber attacks “could be an option”.

Talks between Moscow, the United States and NATO are slated for next week amid tensions sparked by a Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance must prepare “for the possibility of diplomacy failing”.

Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Friday called on Russia to end its “malicious activities” against Ukraine.