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The British military has staged war games featuring a large-scale blackout attack on Moscow as they fear a capability shortage amid allegations of Russian cyberattacks on both sides of the Atlantic in addition to the Skripal affair, the Sunday Times reports.
Sources from the army told the Times that the speed with which a confrontation between the two countries could escalate had left some officials “ashen-faced”.
“If they sank our aircraft carrier with a nuclear-tipped torpedo, what is our response? There’s nothing between sinking their submarine and dropping a nuclear weapon on northern Kamchatka,” one source said, adding, “This is why cyber is so important; you can go on the offensive and turn off the lights in Moscow to tell them that they are not doing the right things.”
In addition to the cyber games, which are the latest demonstration of the growing importance of cyber capabilities for the military of any country, the UK army recently held its largest drill in a decade, involving more than 5,000 troops and six navy ships in the Omani desert. The exercise as apparently part of preparation for a conflict with unconventional Russian forces.
Relations between the UK and Russia began deteriorating with Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, taking a turn for the worse this year after the alleged novichok attack against a double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter.
Earlier this month, the UK officially accused Russia of the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee, using the purposefully ambiguous phrase “almost certainly” with regard to Moscow’s involvement in the cyberattack that some argue led to Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential elections.
As bilateral relations go from bad to worse, the UK is actively looking for an alternative to Russian gas. Even at 1 percent of its total gas imports, Russian gas is still more than 10 Downing Street is apparently willing to live with.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.