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Nato steps up protection of Europe’s undersea infrastructure

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(Montel) Nato has set up a unit to protect Europe’s undersea infrastructure and increase surveillance of assets like gas pipelines amid fears of attacks from Russia, an official with the alliance told Montel.

“This infrastructure is mostly unprotected and there are concerns Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure in an effort to disrupt our economies and societies,” the official said.

“Russian drones and missiles target civilian infrastructure across Ukraine on a regular basis, a reminder of why it is important to enhance the resilience of both land and undersea energy infrastructure as this could affect national and collective defence.”

Nato and its allies have already substantially increased military patrols of critical infrastructure, after damage to the Balticconnector pipeline last year and the rupture in 2022 of the Russia-Germany Nord Stream gas pipelines.

“Sabotage”
The routine surveillance in the Baltic Sea was ongoing and since the Nord Stream “sabotage”, Nato also increased naval patrols in the North Sea, the official said.

“Nato forces have increased patrols and exercises near critical undersea infrastructure, including with ships, patrol aircraft and drones from across the alliance,” the official said. “While undersea cables are vital to economies and societies, they are vulnerable to sabotage and accidental damage.”

“Nato is stepping up to the challenge” as “our societies depend on undersea energy pipelines and communication cables”, the official added.

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