Britain says West must defend undersea cables from Russian navy

Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach waits for the arrival of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, outside the Ministry of Defence in London, September 22, 2016. REUTERS/Alastair Grant/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and its NATO allies must defend deep sea cables against a potentially catastrophic attack by the Russia navy that could disrupt trillions of dollars in financial transactions, the head of Britain’s armed forces warned.

The cables which crisscross the world’s oceans and seas carry 95 percent of communications and over $10 trillion in daily transactions.

“There is a new risk to our way of life, which is the vulnerability of the cables that criss-cross the seabeds,” the BBC quoted Stuart Peach, chief of the defense staff, as saying.

Peach said the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s modernization of the once mighty Soviet navy now posed a serious threat to Western communications.

“Russia in addition to new ships and submarines continues to perfect both unconventional capabilities and information warfare,” Peach said.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western concerns about its renewed assertiveness as Cold War hysteria, though Kremlin supporters praise Putin at home for putting restoring Russia’s clout after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg