UK Military Chief: Russia Cutting Underwater Communication Cables Will Be Considered Act of War
The warning comes ahead of the upcoming Russia-NATO Council gathering, which will deal with Moscow’s proposal on security guarantees that were put forward last month amid Western media and officials’ allegations about a possible Russian “invasion” of Ukraine.
Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the UK’s new chief of the defence staff, has warned that any attempt by Russia to disrupt crucial underwater communication cables could “potentially” be considered an act of war.
Speaking to The Times, the head of the British Armed Forces expressed concern about what he described as “a phenomenal increase in Russian submarine and underwater activity over the last 20 years”, something that Radakin argued could “put at risk and potentially exploit the world's real information system”.
He also underscored the importance of Britain developing “hypersonic missiles” to compete with Russia. According to the admiral, “we [the UK] haven’t [got them] and we should”.
Separately, he asserted there are “deeply worrying” tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine, adding that he had given ministers "military choices" in case of an “invasion” of the country by Moscow.
The claims followed the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) arguing that in late 2020, a Russian “hunter-killer” submarine being tracked by the HMS Northumberland (Type 23 frigate) “came into contact” with the warship’s towed array sonar.
In a video capturing the moment of impact, believed to be the first collision between Russian and British vessels since the Cold War, a crew member of the HMS Northumberland is heard shouting "what the f*** have I just hit?"
This was caught on camera by a UK Channel 5 TV crew who were shooting for the show "Warship: Life At Sea", which airs on Monday evenings.
The developments come as Russia, the US, and NATO prepare to discuss Moscow’s proposals on security guarantees during ministerial meetings scheduled for next week.
Negotiations to this effect between Moscow and Washington are scheduled for 10 January, followed by a Russia-NATO Council meeting to discuss the issue on 12 January, and the summit of Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) the following day.
30 December 2021, 08:33 GMT
On 17 December, Russia released proposals for security guarantees
to NATO and the US, which specifically seek to prevent the alliance from expanding eastwards, and to ban the deployment of American and Russian intermediate and short-range missiles within reach of each other's territory.
This unfolds amid Western media reports about an alleged Russian troop buildup
near the Ukrainian border and claims of Moscow preparing for an “invasion”. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying it has the right to relocate troops within its sovereign territory and at its own discretion, while making it clear that NATO's military activity near Russian borders poses a threat to its security.