Russia’s Trojan Horse Into Europe

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The growing Russian threat in the Black Sea following the end of the grain deal in Ukraine has Europe reassessing its naval security. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Faroe Islands have a special treaty with Russia giving it access to its ports.

The Faroe Islands are self-governing territory of Denmark, having authority to regulate its domestic affairs. In 1999, the Faroese government signed an agreement with Russia to grant it fishing rights. Since then, Russia has been able to dock civilian ships in Faroese water without being searched by the British Royal Navy.

With the increase in global communications, undersea cables are more important than ever. While Russian warships with missiles might not be the ones docking, espionage craft used by Russian intelligence could be used to conduct sabotage or surveillance:

Last year, after 2.6 miles of an undersea fiber-optic cable connecting a Norwegian satellite station with the mainland was cut and vanished without a trace, marine tracking data showed a Russian fishing trawler had crisscrossed over the cable more than 140 times in the days before it was severed, prompting suspicions of sabotage. The trawler’s movements were first reported by Norwegian media outlets.

Russia’s naval power is heavily curtailed by its geography. The exits to all its Western seas are controlled by NATO, with Turkey for the Black Sea, and Denmark for the Baltic. Even its Northern Fleet is controlled by the GIUK gap, a chain of sensors stationed in Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, and Northern Scotland that are capable of tracking movements.

While pivoting to the Pacific, the US Navy has also consolidated its Atlantic operations in the 2nd Fleet in an effort to counter Russia. The threat will not take the form of surface warfare, but rather sabotage and submersible operations.


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