Estonia’s foreign ministry summons Russia’s chargé d’affaires over GPS signal interference

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Republic of Estonia

Estonia’s foreign ministry has asked the chargé d’affaires of the Russian embassy in Tallinn to raise concerns over the jamming of GPS signals. Estonia alleges that Russia has violated international regulations by disrupting GPS navigation within the airspace above the Baltic states. This echoes the concerns of airlines, who have been dealing with such interference for several months.

“Jamming the satellite navigation system by Russia has only increased over time, sowing confusion and heavily affecting civil aviation. This action by Russia is a violation of the radio regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that prohibit causing such disruptions, and we conveyed this message to Russia’s chargé d’affaires, Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said in a statement.

“Jamming the GPS signal is an element of Russia’s hybrid activities, disrupting everyday life and threatening the security of Allies, just like the violent incidents, cyberattacks and misinformation campaigns organised by Russia, Tsahkna added.

In 2022, Moscow and Tallinn expelled each other’s ambassadors due to their deteriorating relationship following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

GPS, or Global Positioning System, is a network of satellites and devices used for positioning, navigation, and timing on Earth. It is used in everything from ships and planes to cars. While jamming GPS signals can disrupt commercial airlines, they can usually navigate by other means.

Foreign Minister Tsahkna has reported that Russia’s GPS signal interference has severely damaged air traffic in the region, leading to the suspension of flights between Helsinki and Tartu. 

Tsahkna has discussed the danger of GPS signal interference with European Union member states and NATO allies. This week, the North Atlantic Council raised the issue, and many European countries have summoned senior Russian diplomats in connection with hybrid and cyberattacks organised by Russia, showing a united front against these actions.

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