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Shetland Isles: Damaged cable ‘could have been a dry run for Russia’ – claim | Science | News

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A “major incident” was declared on the Shetland Isles today after a fishing vessel by accident damaged a cable which provides vital telephone and web communication to the island. Within the aftermath, one expert said he had other suspicions as to the cause, one being that it could have been a “dry run by Russia to check a bigger attack against undersea cables.” While the communication failure left 22,870 people without basic access to their mobiles and landlines – there are fears a much bigger scale goal on cables linking Europe and England with North America could cause a widespread communication outage.  Brandon Weichert, a geopolitical analyst and former Congressional staff member, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk, dubbing the entire situation today as “strange.”

He said: “Officially, it [the cut cable] is believed to have been [done by] a fisherman. Although, whilst that story indicates, two points of harm at two different areas along the cable track is strange. 

“We all know that the Russian Navy has been concerned about severing undersea cables since before the beginning of the Russo-Ukraine War. It’s my belief that this will likely have been a dry run for Russia to check a bigger attack against undersea cables linking Europe with England and with North America.”

The Nord Stream 1 and a pair of pipelines were “sabotaged” in a blast last month, causing gas to leak out into the Baltic Sea. While there is no such thing as a evidence proving who the perpetrator was, Western officials suspect Russia was behind it.

While Faroese Telecom’s head of infrastructure Páll Vesturbú said there’s reason to consider a fishing vessel caused a fault within the SHEFA-2 submarine cable between Shetland and Orkney, he did note that having two problems at the identical time is “very rare.”

Mr Weichert claimed: “Interestingly, the Faroe Islands, which were affected by these cable cuts together with the Shetlands, got into hot water earlier this 12 months in April because they were granting Russian fishing vessels licenses to fish for blue whiting in Faroe’s waters in exchange for Faroese fishing vessels being granted the suitable to fish for haddock, cod, and other fish in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“Under the imprimatur of being easy fishing vessels, Russia could have conducted a sabotage operation against those undersea cables. In any case, like China, Russia has no qualms about using civilian vessels for military purposes. This might have been Russia. What’s more, it is probably going a test run for something greater. “

He also warned that the incident should come as a wake-up call for Britain, even when it does prove to have been an accident.

“And, even when it truly was an accident unrelated to the continuing conflict with Russia, the actual fact stays that this must be a warning for UK leaders (and Western leaders more generally) concerning the dangers posed to the world by Russian sabotage operations directed against critical undersea cables,” he added.

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“The longer the Russo-Ukraine War drags on and the more battlefield defeats Putin’s forces endure, Putin will lash out and seek to reorder events in his favour by utilizing any and all drastic measures. Attacking undersea cables is an obvious way for him to realize this extreme goal.”

But Harry Buckle, creator of Just One Day, who has also worked with MI6, told Express.co.uk the incident was more likely to have been an accident, adding it was probably “local fishing boats.” 

Mr Buckle also said that the damage was unlikely to have been brought on by Russia attributable to the incontrovertible fact that it happened “fairly inshore” and for “no real reason”.

The cable between Faroe and Shetland, which was damaged prior to the south submarine cable, is now scheduled to be repaired on Saturday, in keeping with Mr Vesturbú. 

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He said earlier on Thursday: “The damage is affecting most of telecom services to Shetland. There are some services still working but we are going to try to determine more services in the course of the day if that is possible. We expect it is going to be fishing vessels that damaged the cable but it is vitally rare that we’ve got two problems at the identical time.”

Police have said they were “patrolling the realm”, but are yet to offer exact confirmation as to what caused the damage. Express.co.uk has contacted Police Scotland for an update, but is yet to receive any further update. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned that the “mysterious” damage to the Nord Stream pipelines must be a reminder of how “fragile” the UK economy and infrastructure are within the face of “hybrid attacks”.

To deal with this, he said the Ministry of Defence will send out two “specialist ships” to patrol and protect the UK’s subsea network as its “web and energy are highly reliant on pipelines and cables”.

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