NATO Warns: Russia is Planning Attacks on Western Pipelines and Cables

Russia could sabotage submarine pipelines and cables to punish Western countries for supporting Ukraine. NATO’s intelligence chief warned of this on Wednesday. The military alliance also announced increased efforts to protect submarine infrastructure.

“There are growing concerns that in the near future, Russia will target submarine cables and other key infrastructure to disrupt Western life,” said intelligence chief David Cattler. “The Russians are more active in this area than we have seen them in years. Not only do they patrol the Atlantic Ocean anymore, but they have also increased their activities in the North and Baltic Seas.”

Threats to submarine infrastructure have been a focus of public attention since September 2022, when explosions crippled the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines (built to carry gas from Russia to Germany). But, it is still unclear who was behind the explosions. Cattler declined to speculate on Wednesday about who might be responsible, citing ongoing investigations.

Not only pipelines but also cables are crucial infrastructure. For example, about 95 percent of global internet traffic travels over submarine cables. “All told, they carry an estimated $10 trillion in financial transactions every day. So those cables are an economic pivot,” says Cattler.

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