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Estonian general: Russia likely responsible for uptick in GPS jamming in Eastern Europe

by Nate Ostiller January 31, 2024 12:50 PM 2 min read
Martin Herem, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, speaks during an interview in Ankara, Turkey, on March 31, 2022. (Muhammed Yaylali/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia is likely behind an increase in GPS jamming across Eastern Europe, said Martin Herem, the commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, in an interview with Bloomberg published on Jan. 31.

Russia has been repeatedly accused of backing cyber-crime groups in attacks against its perceived rivals. Moscow has also deployed its cyber capabilities against Ukraine, including attacks on government institutions, the defense sector, and energy infrastructure.

Russia has also been accused of jamming GPS signals in nearby countries such as Finland as far back as the 2010s.

Herem said that the GPS jamming had affected satellite signals used by airlines, smartphones, and weapons systems. While Russia's responsibility for the jamming attacks could not be confirmed, it is likely, he said.

Russia may be attempting to test its jamming capabilities in a potential war-gaming scenario, the Estonian general added.

"Russia has demonstrated its electronic warfare capabilities elsewhere, not just in Ukraine and the Baltic countries," Herem said. "They’re definitely quite strong in this."

The potential source of the jamming activities is unclear, but Russia's Defense Ministry previously admitted that its electronic warfare units based in the exclave of Kaliningrad held exercises to test its satellite disruption capabilities.

Another possible origin could be from Russian ships based in the Baltic Sea, Herem said.

While the potential targets for Russian jamming operations would likely be military objects, satellite disruptions can also potentially impact commercial jets flying in the area.

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