|It's easy to underestimate the brits because they're constantly drinking tea and complaining about the lorries but the same team that will change an Al Qaeda magazine to cupcake recipes will turn your power off to make a point|
For something like this, sanctions go without saying, but I don't think that ends the toolbox. The US often also does indictments, but that's more message sending than impactful sometimes. The UK could pressure Russia on the ground in many places (by supporting Ukraine, perhaps?) but that takes a long time and is somewhat risky. Cyber is a much more attractive option for many reasons, which I will put below in an annoying bullet list.
- Cyber is direct
- Cyber can be made overt with a tweet or a sharply worded message
- GCHQ (and her allies) are no doubt extremely well positioned within Russian infrastructure (as was pointed out in this documentary) so operational lag could be minimized or negligable
- Cyber can be made to be discriminatory and proportional
- Cyber can be reversible or not as desired
- Sending this message through cyber provides a future deterrent and capabilities announcement
That answers why the Brits SHOULD use cyber for this. But we think they will, because they've sent that as a signal via the BBC and the Russians heard it loud and clear.