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Russia behind surge in GPS jamming in Europe - Estonian Defense Forces commander claims

Russia behind surge in GPS jamming in Europe - Estonian Defense Forces commander claims Russia jams GPS in Europe (Photo:

Martin Herem, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, stated that Russia is likely behind the increase in cases of satellite signal jamming used by airlines, smartphones, and defense systems in Eastern Europe, according to Bloomberg.

According to him, the Kremlin is responsible for disrupting global positioning system signals, as interference with satellite navigation systems has intensified in the Baltic region since last year. This month, a particular surge was recorded in the territory from Finland to Poland and the Black Sea region.

"Someone is causing it, and we think it's Russia," Herem said in an interview in Tallinn last week, adding that Moscow may be war-gaming jamming capability amid risks of a future potential conflict with North Atlantic Treaty Organization. "I think they are learning and testing."

Russia has experience in jamming GPS signals in Northern Europe and can employ various capabilities for electronic warfare, including suppressing the activities of drones and missiles in Ukraine. The Kremlin has also increased efforts to create obstacles in Moscow and St. Petersburg to prevent potential drone attacks from Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense previously confirmed that its electronic warfare units in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania, conducted training on disrupting radio and satellite signals.

The Estonian commander stated that interferences could occur from ships in the Baltic Sea. In December, the Polish aviation authority warned pilots of disruptions, and earlier this month, officials in Sweden and Finland stated that they are investigating the issue.

Baltic tensions

"Russia has demonstrated its electronic warfare capabilities elsewhere, not just in Ukraine and the Baltic countries," said Herem.

The Estonian general also warned about Russian aggression. Fresh data on Russia's ability to produce ammunition and mobilize troops have led to a reassessment among NATO allies and an influx of warnings about preparing for a long-term conflict, he said.

Last week, representatives of European aviation held a meeting to discuss the issue as the number of jamming and falsification cases is increasing amid conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, posing a threat to commercial aircraft under false signals. Such practices can unintentionally affect commercial flights.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the trade group International Air Transport Association held a meeting in the German city of Cologne on Thursday, where representatives of airlines, manufacturers, suppliers, and other industry participants gathered to discuss ways to reduce risks.

"We have seen a sharp rise in attacks on these systems, which poses a safety risk," said EASA's acting executive director, Luc Tytgat, on January 26. "We immediately need to ensure that pilots and crews can identify the risks and know how to react and land safely."