Vladimir Putin is “preparing for war” by sending his spy ships to map wind farms and cables off the British coast, a senior MP has said. Russia has been using a “ghost ship” to survey the North Sea in a bid to find Britain’s vulnerabilities in the event of a major conflict with the West. Bob Seely MP, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee told the Telegraph there is “only one reason” for Putin to send the ships and that is to understand how he could sabotage our infrastructure in a war.
Mr. Seely, who also has a PhD in Russian military strategy warned while Russia and China are gearing up for a wider conflict, “Britain is not ready.”
He warned that our largest vulnerability, as Putin will have learned, is in being a coastal nation surrounded by sea. He said Poland in the East would be ready to “defend European soil” in the event of a war with NATO, but the alliance is exposed at sea because Putin could easily cut out the bloc’s energy and communications supply.
Britain has just three pipelines that provide 43 percent of our baseline gas supply. Mr. Seely noted there are about 70 communication cables but these could be easily wiped out in a “deep-sea sabotage operation”.
He said there is a “need” for Britain to bolster its maritime defense, working with Scandinavian, North Sea, and Baltic Allies.
He added: “All these sea-faring countries have a vested interest in preventing Russian ocean sabotage. But Britain’s history is unique and our naval experience unrivalled, especially among our northern European allies.”
“The need is critical,” he added. “This century will witness a struggle between two versions of humanity: open societies like our own versus closed, authoritarian societies using all forms of state power to oppress their own people and threaten others. It is a struggle that we have not wanted, but one that we cannot, and must not, lose.”
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Elsewhere in the Telegraph article, Mr. Seely put forward his concern that Putin was trying to understand how Russia could attack the West, should Putin want to, without triggering a NATO military response.
He fears Russia will attack through elusive tactics such as creating “unexplained glitches or failures on underwater cables”, or through “shadowy groups” such as Wagner Group perpetrating destructive cyber attacks.
Mr. Seely added: “Would a military response be feasible, as Admiral Tony Radakin argued last year? We still don’t know who sabotaged the Nord Steam 2 pipeline. Could we really risk war on a suspicion? Putin knows this.”
Following reports of underwater cable mapping, The MP has put down Written Parliamentary Questions to be answered by Sunak’s Government surrounding UK’s underwater vulnerabilities. He has asked about Britain’s capabilities for underwater cable protection.
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