Foreign Ministry: GPS jamming signal “came from Russia”

After Norway and international media had already pointed a finger at Russia over GPS jamming, Finnish ministry issues "passive" statement.

File picture of Russian troops / Credit: iStock

The Finnish Foreign Ministry has said that a GPS jamming signal that affected flights in Lapland, came from Russia.

However, the ministry stops short of accusing Russia directly.

In a statement, the ministry says that Finnish authorities “are continuing to investigate the GPS signal disruption that occured during NATO’s ‘Trident Juncture’ military drills” which started at the end of October.

The Norwegian government had already said that Russia was to blame for the GPS disruption. The Finnish Defence Forces alerted the Air Navigation Service ANS, who issued warnings to aircraft about widespread GPS problems in the area from north of Rovaniemi to the Norwegian border, and east of Kittilä to the Russian border.

“Finland considers Norway’s findings on the signal disruption to be reliable. It is not appropriate to release details on the matter to the public” says the Foreign Ministry, adding that “the issue is being discussed with the Russian Federation through diplomatic channels”.

“Finland’s premise is that such activities must not endanger air traffic” says the statement.

Reaction to the statement 

One foreign policy expert who frequently writes about security issues called the Foreign Ministry statement “wishy-washy” and “passive” response.

“Probably caused serious internal debate between different foreign policy actors, wording is wishy-washy” writes Charly Salonius-Pasternak, from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs FIIA, noting that the Finnish statement came “well after everyone else” like Norway and media outlets had already reported the issue.

Salonius-Pasternak asks on Twitter what is more likely: that an unidentified non-state actor set up the GPS jamming equipment on Russian territory or that the Russian military did it.

His clear meaning is that since everyone else is pointing the figure at Russia, there was no reason for the Finns to be so coy about it.