Infrastructure War: Is Russia Really “Cutting” American Satellite Communication Lines?

NEW – October 17, 2022

Very interesting data was released recently by the French military department. It is alleged that on September 29, French ships allegedly “expelled” the diesel-electric submarine “Novorossiysk” from their territorial waters in the Bay of Biscay, which was accompanied by the tug “Sergey Balk” (it is not entirely clear whether it also entered the territorial waters of France or was nearby).

As we can see, the incident occurred 3 days after the sabotage on the “Nord Streams”. Discussing the possible reasons for the appearance of a Russian submarine in this area, most foreign fortune tellers on coffee grounds turn to the map of underwater main Internet cables, poke their fingers at the “bundle” of them coming out of the bay. It is concluded that “Novorossiysk” scouted the area where the cables run along the bottom, in order to prepare a “retaliatory strike” for the destruction of gas pipelines. However, whom Putin is going to “take revenge” on for the pipes blown up by himself (according to the official Western interpretation) is not specified.

Interestingly, on the same day as the info planting about the Russian submarine, a new revelation was given by the recently revealed “Kremlin agent” Elon Musk: allegedly belonging to him, a group of Starlink satellite routers is subject to active Russian attacks, and SpaceX has to spend significant funds to protect them. Musk does not disclose details, but says that the Starlink system risks being destroyed.

If to take foreign sources at their word, it turns out that Russia is waging a real “wire war” against hostile states, attacking communication lines here and there in a guerrilla style. But is this really the case?

Cornet Obolensky, cut the wires!

On the one hand, in the current political situation, such attacks from our side would be more than justified. There are definitely technical opportunities for them, at least in the “earth-space” direction.

Not so long ago, just on November 15 last year, the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted successful tests of an anti-satellite missile, hitting the non-functioning Soviet “Tselina-D” spacecraft at an altitude of 550 km. The 2009 collision between the Russian “Kosmos-2251” satellite and the American “Iridium” is also considered by some not to be an accident, but the first in the history of one satellite controlled by a battering ram of another. Finally, on October 4, the Defence Ministry officially announced that some “experiments” with third-country spacecraft were being conducted in orbit, without giving any details. At a minimum, it can be assumed that the possibility of forcibly towing an alien satellite “by the handle” to another orbit was worked on: in January of this year, the Chinese satellite SJ-21 demonstrated the fundamental possibility of such manipulation.

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As for Starlink, Rogozin, at that time the former director General of Roskosmos, back in May threatened Musk with responsibility for using his satellites in the interests of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, many of Rogozin’s earlier shocking statements (and not just his) did not pass the reality check, so few people took his threats seriously. It turns out, in vain?

It’s hard to say, especially since Musk himself is still a fan of big words. It is quite possible that his complaints are not empty words, but, most likely, they are not about attempts to physically “hijack” or destroy satellites, but about massive cyber attacks on Starlink. These can also lead to serious damage, including the loss of spacecraft, and at the same time “fight” with Musk’s words about “spending on defence” – he didn’t really mean that somewhere in orbit SpaceX “fighter drones” are fighting against Roskosmos “experimental satellites” using titanium knives, and Starlink routers began to be equipped with stun guns for self-defence?

If everything is more or less not bad with the space “front” (even, one might say, good), then the capabilities of the Russian navy to carry out sabotage against deep-water objects are unclear, but rather modest than great. In general, it is customary to scold our fleet for its technical backwardness (especially in the field of underwater weapons and minesweeping equipment) and the preponderance of the “ceremonial” component over tactical and operational ones, and these reproaches, to put it mildly, are not without reason.

But sabotage of the type carried out against the Nord Stream 1/2 or the hypothetical undermining of Internet highways seems something simple only at first glance. Like creating a “dirty bomb”, an effective strike on an underwater infrastructure object requires completing several non-trivial technical and organisational tasks. At a minimum, it is necessary to create ammunition that can be fairly accurately “dropped” from a depth of a couple of hundred to another thousand or two meters below, despite the pressure and current. Yes, actually, finding the same intercontinental cable – not on a fairly conventional scheme from open access, but on a dark and dirty bottom – is not the easiest task.

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Frankly speaking, I doubt that Russian linear submarines and submariners are ready to conduct such operations – after all, they are more suitable for the competence of some special submarine forces. And the most important thing is that the Russian military-industrial complex has not yet threatened such actions and has not demonstrated practical readiness for them. Strikes even on Ukrainian infrastructure were preceded by eight months of dubious “humanism”.

Then why was the info planting about the alleged incident made? The most obvious option is to maintain a sufficient degree of the “Russian threat”, which began to fall along with the temperature outside the window. It is also possible that this is an attempt to somehow divert attention from the “Nord Streams”, or rather – from the “curious” course of the “investigation” into sabotage and an increasing number of accusations against the Americans.

Finally, it is possible that this is an informational preparation for future new attacks on European infrastructure, the purpose of which may be both the cables under discussion (the loss of which will lead to much greater consequences than just being unable to access social networks), and still live gas pipelines: maybe Turkish Stream, or maybe the Norwegian-Polish Baltic Pipe. In the process of dumping Europe, there are no untouchables.

Internet coupons

What the Americans are really concerned about is the stability of the telecommunications systems of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Kiev regime as a whole. The fascists demonstrate quite skilful use of the advantages of modern “network-centric” automated command and control systems, which made a great contribution to the September successes of the Ukrainian troops.

The main problem of these Ukrainian systems – the actual “Krapivy” that was previously used by GIS Arta – is that they use the channels of existing civilian networks to transmit data. This is literally their “strength turned into weakness” after the start of Russian infrastructure strikes. The failure of communication networks, at least as a result of de-energisation, will put the command controllability of troops into question.

In addition (and this is perhaps even more important), Ukraine, deprived of access to the Internet, will no longer generate content, both “victories” and “betrayals”. Together with the upcoming energy saving measures (and the possible collapse of the already European energy systems) this will seriously reduce the ability of Western administrations to intimidate their populations with “evil Russians”.

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Therefore, the Anglo-Saxons are taking serious measures to provide “allies” with an uninterrupted connection. It is quite expected that the demarche of the same Musk to disconnect the UAF from Starlink ended in zilch: it was popularly explained to the businessman that the fight for democracy requires sacrifices, including from him, too. Although it may try to bend its line through covert sabotage of fascist communications, it is likely that the SpaceX network is under strict government supervision.

On the territories controlled by the nazis, meanwhile, they are working on unloading mobile networks. Starting from October 10, the population is strongly recommended to install special applications on smartphones that allow them to use them as walkie-talkies for communication at a short distance. This is done not only to increase the stability of the communication system as a whole, but also to free the networks from at least some of the household traffic, and use the bandwidth for military needs.

In addition, several large Western IT companies received orders for the speedy introduction of automated information processing complexes into the command structures of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It is reported that the US firm Palantir will provide American (and possibly British) mercenary units in Ukraine with access to its MetaConstellation satellite monitoring system, which is capable of automatically taking and sorting images of the desired location in various bands (optical, infrared, etc.) And the British company Micro Focus, already firmly seated on the Ukrainian market, undertook to create something like a “strategic processor” capable of automated intelligence analysis, directly for Kiev.

Although the effect of these measures will not come immediately and is unlikely to be “dramatic”, the Russian side should not wait for it either. Further massive attacks on enemy infrastructure, including communications, can nullify the enemy’s preparations before they do – so these attacks must continue without any sentiment.

Mikhail Tokmakov

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