The russian submarine «Vladimir Monomakh» has 20 ballistic missiles( Photo:

BRUSSELS — Russian submarines have dramatically stepped up activity around undersea data cables in the North Atlantic, part of a more aggressive naval posture that has driven NATO to revive a Cold War-era command, according to senior military officials, writes Wall Street Journal.  The apparent Russian focus on the cables, which provide Internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe, could give the Kremlin the power to sever or tap into vital data lines, the officials said. Russian submarine activity has increased to levels unseen since the Cold War, they said, sparking hunts in recent months for the elusive watercraft.

“We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don’t believe we have ever seen,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon, the commander of NATO’s submarine forces. “Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations’ undersea infrastructure.”

Will Secure North Atlantic

NATO has responded with plans to reestablish a command post, shuttered after the Cold War, to help secure the North Atlantic. NATO allies are also rushing to boost anti-submarine warfare capabilities and to develop advanced submarine-detecting planes.

Britain’s top military commander also warned that Russia could imperil the cables that form the backbone of the modern global economy. The privately owned lines, laid along the some of the same corridors as the first transatlantic telegraph wire in 1858, carry nearly all of the communications on the Internet, facilitating trillions of dollars of daily trade. If severed, they could snarl the Web. If tapped, they could give Russia a valuable picture of the tide of the world’s Internet traffic.

“It’s a pattern of activity, and it’s a vulnerability,” said British Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, in an interview.

“Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted, which would immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living if they were disrupted?” Peach said in a speech in London this month. The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment about the cables. The Russian sea activity comes as the Kremlin has also pressed against NATO in the air and on land. Russian jets routinely clip NATO airspace in the Baltics, and troops drilled near NATO territory in September.

Foreign minister Rex Tillerson is worried about the russian activity in the North Atlantic( Photo: US Gov)

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