THE Foreign Secretary has not ruled out the possibility Russia was behind damage to an undersea cable which left much of the Shetland Islands severed from the internet and phone access.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail, James Cleverly said he was not able to confirm the cause of the outage but did not refute the chance Vladimir Putin’s forces could have been behind it.

He told the paper: “We’re constantly having to defend ourselves against digital attack from state and non-state actors.

“I’m not in a position to make a judgment call on the exact causes of the outages on the islands but we know there are a number of areas where we have to defend ourselves in the physical and digital realm."

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Cleverly was speaking at Strathclyde University in Glasgow while meeting scientists developing low-cost recyclable batteries – a UK Government-funded project which aims to improve access to clean energy for the poorest people in the world.

And he took aim at anti-nuclear campaigners in Scotland, claiming the UK’s weapons of mass destruction work “every single day”.

He said: “We’re seeing how incredibly important it is to have a credible nuclear and conventional defence posture. When I speak to my Ukrainian counterparts, they hugely value the support the UK has given to them.

“Ukrainian soldiers are being trained by the British Army and there are a disproportionate number of Scots in the Army who are really making a massive difference to the defence of Ukraine.”

Cleverly added: “I think Putin would love it if there was anything that hampered our ability to help the Ukrainians defend themselves and made our commitment to NATO and other international partnerships less effective. Our nuclear deterrent works every single day and is there to deter.”

The Faroe Islands, a part of Denmark, were also affected and Faroese telecoms officials have blamed fishing vessels for the damage.