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UK warns undersea cables at risk of Russian attack

Britain's most senior military officer says defence of the cables must be prioritised.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The UK's chief of the defence staff, has said that Britain and NATO need to do more to defend against an attack on undersea communications cables.

The cables, which lay on the sea bed, carry telephone and internet traffic across the world.

Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute defence think tank, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said that an attack on the cables could be catastrophic.

"There is a new risk to our way of life, which is the vulnerability of the cables that criss-cross the seabeds," said Sir Stuart.

"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."