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Russian spy ship stoking fears of cutting UK’s internet off: Report

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS/Zuma Press/TNS)
October 24, 2022

The Royal Navy recently tracked a suspected Russian spy ship as it sailed around the U.K., triggering fears of a crippling attack on global internet infrastructure, The Sun reported. This comes less than a month after the explosion and crippling of Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which the West and Russia blamed on each other as an act of sabotage.

The Russian research vessel Akademic Boris Petrov, thought to possibly to be a spy ship, changed direction unexpectedly and passed near multiple strategic European targets in recent days, the Sun reported.

It took off from Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost on the Baltic Sea, on Oct. 17, bound for a port on the northeast coast of Brazil. The ship was expected to pass between the U.K. and France and into the Atlantic Ocean, but instead sailed around the north tip of the U.K. 

The trip took it near Trident submarines key to the country’s nuclear deterrent, as well as infrastructure for undersea cables that carry 97 percent of global internet traffic, the Daily Star reported.

Russia’s highly secret, nuclear-powered Losharik submarines are theorized to be able to sever or “listen in” on communication cables, Futurism reported. And Russian ships have been active near the critical cables in recent years, according to Insider.

The alleged spy ship was also monitored by Norwegian jets after it dramatically slowed down while passing Norwegian oil fields in the North Sea, according to the Sun. 

Seven Russians were recently arrested for illegally flying drones in that country, which Norway’s prime minister blamed on “foreign intelligence,” according to France24.

Last week, a Russian fighter jet “released” a missile near an unarmed British surveillance plane during a recent incident over the Black Sea, the U.K.’s defense minister revealed. The Russian side claimed the missile release was the result of a technical malfunction, but the incident could have risked harming a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally and setting off a broader, potentially nuclear-armed conflict.