Speaking to Express.co.uk, weapons technology expert James Peddell, formerly of the Ministry of Defence and now director of Black Jellyfish consultants, said the West are not yet aware of Russia’s capability in launching cyberattacks on the battlefield. But he warned that if Russia do possess the same technology the West has, there could be major problems in the event of an invasion of Ukraine.
Explaining the issue of cyberattacks, Mr Peddell said that while the world has seen attacks on Western Governments and businesses by Russia, little is known about the nation’s ability in cyberspace on the battlefield.
He warned however that Russia may have the ability to launch “cyberattacks which can take down military level capabilities”, similar to what the West have done in past conflicts such as in the First Gulf War which saw western troops scramble the Iraqi army’s communications systems.
But the expert noted that while it is yet to be seen what Russia are capable of, such capabilities are a concern and are a “question mark” over Russian technological advancements.
Mr Peddell explained: “If there were to be an action in Ukraine, where western militaries start to get involved…
“The question would be, does Russia have the capability to take down Western, European or American command and control systems.”
He said attacks could also target our “communication systems” and, more worryingly, “military weapons systems” could also be targeted and taken out too.
The technology expert went on to stress how this is now “the question mark” with Russia and its weapons development, an area he said the West has put a lot of investment into, meaning the West now have the capability to carry out such attacks on Russia on the battlefield.
Mr Peddell concluded: “It hasn’t been demonstrated, that is the unknown in terms of the level of capability that Russia has versus the west.”
Observers now believe as many as 200,000 Russian troops could be lined up along Ukraine’s border with Russia and Belarus.
On Friday, the Foreign Office urged Britons living in Ukraine to immediately get out of the country by commercial means while they still can, amid fears of an imminent invasion.
This came despite attempts by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to call for calm as he said Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, had assured him Russia have no plans to invade Ukraine.
But this claim was thrown into doubt after Mr Shoigu slammed Mr Wallace for the UK’s deliveries of lethal arms and military trainers to Ukraine, which Wallace claimed were purely for defensive purposes in the case of a potential invasion.
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Mr Shoigu also added his distrust of Britain saying cooperation was “close to zero” after he demanded a reason as to why the British Government had supposedly sent UK Special Forces into Ukraine, an unverified claim because the Ministry of Defence refuse to comment on actions of UK Special Forces.
Following the crunch talks, Mr Wallace said “Shoigu is a professional and very experienced minister” adding that talks were “frank and constructive”.
He added “when they say they aren’t going to invade Ukraine we take it seriously” though he noted “but look at the actions that accompany it” as he drew on the enormous build-up of troops.
In a sobering assessment, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “We stand on the edge of a precipice and things are as dangerous as I have seen them in Europe for a very, very long time.
“The lesson of the last 100 years is that when Poland is threatened with instability, or aggression on the borders of Poland, then we are all threatened and we’re all affected.”