A Russian submarine base in Olenya Bay on the Barents Sea coast is said to be the nerve center from which Moscow has allegedly stepped up intelligence activities directed at undersea data cables in the North Atlantic.
The Independent Barents Observer reports that Olenya is home to a fleet of nuclear-powered spy submarines and surface vessels that are overseen by Russia’s Main Directorate for Deep Sea Research. NATO officials contend that subs and other vessels from the base are being dispatched on intelligence missions related to the cables — which carry critical communications and trillions in transactions between the US, Europe and the rest of the world.
“Little is known about the nature of those voyages, except reports of significantly increased activity along subsea cables which carry global electronic communication,” the Norway-based online publication said.
The Observer referenced a December report by Rishi Sunak, a Conservative British Member of Parliament, about such suspected Russian intelligence activity that was also covered in a recent story by Asia Times.
Sunak’s report focused on mounting concerns that the 200 undersea cables which carry more than 95 percent of everything that moves on the global internet are becoming targets for tapping or sabotage by nation states and terrorist groups.
Russia is also said to be expanding its fleet of special-purpose vessels aimed at seabed operations, though there’s no confirmation from NATO or others that any undersea cables have been compromised by such alleged Russian activity.