Skip to content
Edit post

Lithuania’s FM: Russian GPS jamming of commercial flights 'too dangerous to ignore'

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 29, 2024 5:03 PM 3 min read
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (L) and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis in Kyiv on Jan. 27, 2024. (Dmytro Kuleba/X)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

Suspected Russian jamming of GPS systems aboard commercial flights is "too dangerous to ignore," Baltic foreign ministers have warned, after it was revealed two Finnish aircraft were forced to turn around mid-journey in recent days.

Russia has been accused of jamming GPS signals in nearby countries such as Finland as far back as the 2010s, but incidents have sky-rocketed in recent months, particularly over the Baltic Sea.

According to a report by The Sun based on data from the website GPSJAM.org, some 46,000 aircraft have reported problems over the Baltic Sea since last August, with most of them occurring in Eastern Europe near borders with Russia.

Speaking to the Financial Times (FT) over the weekend, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, sounded the alarm over the escalating problem.

"If someone turns off your headlights while you’re driving at night, it gets dangerous," he said, adding: "Things in the Baltic region near Russian borders are now getting too dangerous to ignore."

On April 25 and 26, two Finnair flights from Helsinki to the Estonian city of Tartu experienced GPS jamming and turned around mid-flight.

Estonia’s Foreign Minister, Margus Tsahkna, laid the blame firmly on Russia.

"We consider what is happening with GPS as part of Russia’s hostile activities, and we will definitely discuss it with our allies," she said.

"Such actions are a hybrid attack and are a threat to our people and security, and we will not tolerate them."

Latvia's Foreign Minister, Baiba Braze, said his country was taking the incidents "seriously" and was in touch with international partners over the issue.

The NATO and Lithuanian flags fly over the summit venue on July 09, 2023 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Several recent incidents of jamming have highlighted the issue. Most notably, Russia is believed to have jammed the satellite signal of a Royal Air Force aircraft used to transport U.K. Defence Minister Grant Shapps.

The aircraft, which was traveling back to Britain from Poland on March 13, was jammed for about 30 minutes as it flew by Russia's Kaliningrad region.

GPS signal and internet on board the aircraft were inaccessible for the duration of the aircraft's flight near Kaliningrad where the jamming signals are thought to originate.

A spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the incident at the time, noting it was "not unusual."

Aircraft rely on GPS for navigation but the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) played down the risk to passenger safety.

"Aviation is one of the safest forms of air travel, and there are several safety protocols in place to protect navigation systems on commercial aircraft," Glenn Bradley, the head of flight operations at the CAA, told the Guardian.

"GPS jamming does not directly impact the navigation of an aircraft, and while it is a known issue, this does not mean an aircraft has been jammed deliberately."

Thousands of European flights reportedly affected by suspected Russian jamming
Russia has been accused of jamming GPS signals in nearby countries such as Finland as far back as the 2010s.
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

3:12 PM

Russian shell production three times greater than of Ukraine's allies.

Using publicly available data, consulting firm Bain & Company claims that Russian factories can produce or refurbish 4.5 million 152 mm shells for $1,000 per round this year. European countries and the U.S. are only expected to produce 1.3 million 155 mm shells combined at an average cost of $4,000 per unit.
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
12:50 PM

Governor: 16 killed in Russian strike on Kharkiv hypermarket.

The death toll of Russia’s May 25 strike on a building materials hypermarket in Kharkiv has risen to 16, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on the afternoon of May 26. Over 40 people are confirmed to have been wounded, and over a dozen more are considered missing, the National Police reported earlier the same day.
2:55 AM

Russia attacks 10 communities in Sumy Oblast.

The attacks caused 174 recorded explosions in the area. The village of Znob-Novhorodske endured the heaviest assault, with 59 explosions caused by Russian artillery, mortars, and Grad MLRS.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.