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Western officials are increasingly concerned about Russian sub activity.
Part of that concern is about Russian subs interfering with undersea cables that support telecommunications.
Sanctions - Monday - Firms - Efforts
US sanctions announced Monday target Russian firms linked to undersea spying efforts.
Russia has been investing heavily in its submarine fleet over the past decade and a half, restocking its fleet with more sophisticated and more capable boats that are more active than at any time since the Cold War.
Activity - Officials - Concern - Undersea - US
That activity has worried Western officials, who have particular concern for what those subs might be doing around the undersea cables that link the US, Europe, and countries around the world, carrying 95% of communications and over $10 trillion in daily transactions.
Now the US government is targeting that undersea capability by putting sanctions on Russian firms and individuals that work with the country's powerful FSB, the security and intelligence agency sanctioned in 2016 for interfering in the US election that year.
US - Effort - Actors - Behest - Federation
The US is pursuing "an ongoing effort to counter malicious actors working at the behest of the Russian Federation and its military and intelligence units to increase Russia's offensive cyber capabilities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a release. "The entities designated today have directly contributed to improving Russia's cyber and underwater capabilities through their work with the FSB."
The Treasury said the sanctions were in response to "malign and destabilizing cyber activities," like 2017's NotPetya cyberattack and cyber intrusions of the US energy grid, which could allow future attacks.
Firms - Monday - Divetechnoservices - Variety - Equipment
Among the firms sanctioned on Monday was Divetechnoservices, which, since 2007, "has procured a variety of underwater equipment and diving systems for Russian government agencies, to include the FSB," the Treasury Department said.
"Further, in 2011, Divetechnoservices was awarded a contract to procure a submersible craft valued at $1.5 million for the FSB," according to the release.
21st-century - Equivalent
'The 21st-century, underwater equivalent'
Undersea espionage is not...
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