NATO commander warns undersea cables and pipes at risk from foes

NATO's Allied Maritime Command's deputy commander Vice Adm. Didier Maleterre has raised concerns about the security of important deep sea cables and pipelines that are vital to nearly 1 billion NATO-nation civilians. Maleterre warned that Russia has been engaging in hybrid warfare under the sea to disrupt the European economy through cables, internet cables, and pipelines.

Maleterre highlighted that Russia has developed nuclear-powered submarines for hybrid warfare purposes, potentially using them to disrupt underwater infrastructure. He emphasized that more than 90% of the internet is transmitted under the sea, making these networks extremely vulnerable to attacks.

Recent incidents involving damage to communication cables and gas pipelines have raised alarms about the threats to key infrastructure in the maritime space. The damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany in 2022, for example, led to suspicions of Russian involvement, although evidence was lacking.

NATO officials have long been concerned about Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, these concerns have been heightened as there are fears that Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure to disrupt Western life and gain leverage against nations supporting Ukraine.

Amid rising tensions between NATO and Russia, NATO allies have been scanning the waters extensively using various tools to identify culprits and protect underwater networks. Maleterre's warning serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding these vital undersea infrastructures to ensure the security and well-being of NATO nations.


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