Russia could potentially target key Western infrastructure: NATO
A NATO official asserts that Russia could attack key infrastructure buildings, equipment, and projects, in the West in light of the ongoing Ukraine war.
NATO is concerned that Russia could attack some key infrastructure in Europe and North America in light of the Ukraine war, NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Intelligence and Security David Cattler said on Wednesday.
"We see a significant risk that critical infrastructure in Europe and potentially North America could be targeted by Russia as part of its war on Ukraine," Cattler said, as quoted by the US-based newspaper Politico.
Russia, if it were to initiate a strike, could target underwater gas pipelines and cables that carry 95% of internet traffic, he claimed.
Furthermore, the NATO official said Russia might aim to "disrupt Western life", giving it leverage over affected countries that happen to provide support to Kiev.
Russia was "actively mapping" the infrastructure of Ukraine's partners, Cattler argued. Another evidence of Russia's alleged plans is its active patrols in the Atlantic that are now "at a higher level" than they have been in years, he added.
"When you look at the evidence of their activities now, the places they are doing surveys, overlaid with this critical undersea infrastructure… you can see that they are at least signaling that they have the intent and the capability to take action in this domain if they choose," the high-ranking NATO official stressed.
Politico highlighted how critical infrastructure was vulnerable by citing the explosions that hit the Nord Stream pipelines in September 2022.
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas infrastructure was built by Russian and European energy companies to carry up to 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from Russia to Europe via pipelines along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Sections of pipelines off the Danish Island of Bornholm were struck in what Russia says was a coordinated terror attack on September 26, 2022. Russian officials accused the "Anglo-Saxons" of responsibility a month after the incident.
When investigative journalist Seymour Hersh detailed the sabotage operation in his article, Western officials dismissed the reporting as false, while mainstream media either ignored the story or attempted to smear the investigative journalist himself.
Read next: Kremlin blasts Western media downplay of Hersh’s documents
Separate investigations were launched by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden into the suspected sabotage, with German media reporting trust issues among the three EU nations. The Russian prosecutor's office announced an investigation into possible international terrorism.
Hersh alleged that the United States decided to sabotage the pipelines after a lengthy debate that lasted more than nine months inside the US national security community.
"Last June, the Navy divers, operating under the cover of a widely publicized mid-summer NATO exercise known as BALTOPS 22, planted the remotely triggered explosives that, three months later, destroyed three of the four Nord Stream pipelines, according to a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning," the report read.
The revelation of the report prompted Moscow to ask the United States to comment, saying it had repeatedly said that the United States and NATO member states were involved in the explosions at Nord Stream, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.