A Russian spy ship that can allegedly cut undersea cables was today spotted in the English Channel.
Vladimir Putin’s Yantar was caught loitering between the coast of Devon and France and appears to be heading north.
Defence analyst H I Sutton said: “Controversial Russian ‘research vessel’ Yantar has entered the English Channel heading northbound.
“It is currently south of the Lizard.
“The ship has turned on its AIS (automated Information System) so it is currently visible on AIS aggregators.”
Yantar was last month seen off the Irish coastline in what was being viewed as a push from Putin to scare the West.
It zig-zagged through seas north of Mayo and Donegal over at least one commercial sub-sea cable.
It then moved to the west of Killybegs fishing harbour before scuttling off into the Atlantic.
Ireland’s Defence Force and NATO were said to be on alert and monitoring the situation.
Putin’s fleet of submarines dedicated to tampering with vital undersea internet cables could cripple Britain and plunge the country into chaos, it was warned earlier this year.
The vessels are operated by a shadowy branch of the Russian military that answers directly to Putin – with a mission to deliver a catastrophic blow to the West.
The subs are carried beneath an enormous “mothership” undersea vessel and are built to lurk at the bottom of the ocean – entering the Atlantic by sailing down from the Arctic.
They then use robotic arms to tamper with or even cut key cables that help keep the world’s economy moving with potentially devastating consequences.
Even just severing cables has the capacity to bring Britain to a complete standstill, as a 2006 earthquake in the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines showed.
There, six out of seven cables used to distribute internet and phone services from North America to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea were severed.
That led a 100 per cent internet outage to Hong Kong and South East Asia, cutting off millions of citizens and businesses from internet and mobile phones.
It has been estimated that cutting three cables could lead to some countries losing 70 per cent of their data traffic.