New defence boss warns of Russian submarine threat at sea – saying damage to communication cables would be act of WAR

THE NEW defence boss has warned of a Russian submarine threat at sea, saying any damage to communication cables would be considered an act of war.

Increased Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic is concerning Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

He told The Times: “There’s been a phenomenal increase in Russian submarine and underwater activity over the last 20 years."

He said Russia has grown the ability to put the undersea cables where the world's information and traffic travels under threat.

When asked if destroying the cables "would be considered an act of war", Sir Tony answered: "Potentially, yes."

Sir Tony said Russia's obvious military strength was of concern – and that he planned to develop hypersonic missiles to compete.

Hypersonic missiles can fly at five times the speed of sound and at lower altitudes than ballistic missiles.

He said: “We haven’t [got] and we must have."

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A Navy source told The Times: "In a third world war, would [damaging underwater cables] be a particularly good way of making life difficult for us? Yes. That’s exactly why they are doing it.

"If you take away cables, no one can make telephone calls, they then can’t make business deals, buy shares, and the economy will grind to a halt."

It was feared that the Russians would try to cut undersea cables that are essential for internet and communication in the UK.

A Russian spy ship that is believed to be able to cut undersea cables was spotted in the English Channel in September, 2021.

Vladimir Putin's Yantar was caught loitering between the coast of Devon and France and appears to be heading north.


The internet cables and other crucial undersea infrastructure are vital to sharing information between countries.

Just severing cables has the capacity to bring Britain to a complete standstill, as a 2006 earthquake in the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines showed.

There, six out of seven cables used to distribute internet and phone services from North America to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea were severed.

That led a 100 per cent internet outage to Hong Kong and South East Asia, cutting off millions of citizens and businesses from internet and mobile phones.

It has been estimated that cutting three cables could lead to some countries losing 70 per cent of their data traffic.

Sir Tony's comments come after a Russian submarine crashed into a Royal Navy warship in an unbelievable clash.

A crew member can be heard shouting "what the f**k have I just hit?" after the HMS Northumberland struck the "hunter-killer" sub in the icy north Atlantic.

The dramatic collision – which is believed to have been an accident – was caught on film by a Channel 5 TV crew whilst shooting for the show Warship: Life At Sea, which airs on Mondays at 9pm.

It is thought to be the first collision between Russian and Royal Navy vessels since the Cold War.

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