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Finland. Finnair suspends flights to the Estonian city. The reason for the GPS signal being disrupted by Russia

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Finnish airline Finnair has suspended flights to Tartu in eastern Estonia due to GPS signal interference caused by Russia, Politico reports. The government in Tallinn considers the disruptions to be a hybrid attack from Moscow, while the authorities in Helsinki claim it is a side effect of Russian self-defense.

Jamming the GPS signal in the Baltic Sea region is “most likely” a side effect of Russia's anti-drone activities, the Finnish transport and communications agency Traficom said on Friday.

“The disruptions intensified when Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian energy infrastructure began in January 2024,” Traficom noted in a press release.

The Politico website points out that Estonia also blames Moscow for jamming the GPS signal, but unlike the government in Tallinn, the Finnish agency does not consider it a hybrid attack.

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“The disruptions currently observed in aviation are most likely a side effect of Russian self-defense,” which is used “to prevent the navigation and control of drones controlled by GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System – ed.) or mobile frequencies,” Traficom said in a statement on Friday.

The Finnish agency assesses that despite the disruptions, flights to and from Finland are safe thanks to alternative forms of navigation, including inertial and terrestrial navigation, although it admits that GPS remains “the main source of navigation information in aviation.”

GPS signal interference in the Baltic states

Last week, two planes of the Finnish carrier were forced to return to Helsinki when they were unable to land at Tartu airport as scheduled due to GPS signal interference. Due to the incident, Finnair suspended flights to Tartu for a month.

Estonian military officials and experts stressed earlier in April that Russia's jamming of GPS signals in the Baltic Sea region poses a risk to both aviation and shipping.

In January, experts quoted by the media of the Baltic countries reported that the source of mass GPS signal interference was the system located in Königsberg. Most such incidents were recorded during Christmas.

“The situation is too dangerous to ignore.”

Recently, the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia warned that Russia's jamming of the GPS signal would sooner or later lead to a plane crash.

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said that jamming the GPS signal at Tartu airport was a Russian hybrid attack. – We will definitely discuss this situation with our allies. “Such actions are a hybrid attack and pose a threat to our people and security, so we will not tolerate it,” he said.

– The situation in the Baltic region near Russia's borders is now becoming too dangerous to ignore, added Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Estonian government announced that the issue of Russia jamming the GPS signal over the Baltic Sea will be raised at the European Union and NATO levels.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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