NATO is paying more attention to radioelectronic warfare and has increased its potential in this sphere, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said regarding the GPS navigation system malfunction during the mega drill, which was partly based in the northern Finnish region of Lapland, albeit without addressing the hypotheses of Russia’s engagement, voiced by Finnish officials.
“There were similar reports from Norway, but I can’t share more accurate information,” Stoltenberg said at a conference in Berlin. “True,” he added, “we have seen cyber and radioelectronic devices being used increasingly in various operations. We take all these questions very seriously in order to be able to respond to electronic warfare and perfect our own capabilities, including in the cybersphere. And we have increased our capabilities in order to cope with such challenges and threats, including during military operations.”
The NATO Trident Juncture drill, which involved about 50,000 troops from over 30 countries, including formally non-aligned Sweden and Finland, took place from October 25 to November 7. During the late stages of the drill, Finnish air communicators issued warnings about unstable GPS operation in the north of the country. Since then, high-ranking Finnish officials, including Prime Minister Juha Sipila, suggested that the disruptions were intentional and that Russia may have initiated the GPS jamming in a display of power. In turn, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the idea that Moscow had anything to do with the malfunctioning of the GPS system during the NATO exercise.
“We have no knowledge of Russia’s alleged role in GPS glitches. You should ask experts or the Defence Ministry. But there is an obvious trend to blame Russia for everything. As a rule, these accusations are baseless,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Meanwhile, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has joined the score of Finnish politicians demanding an investigation of the reported interference.
“I believe that there are technical devices that should be able to determine the source of the interference, and then we should express our views on it, even quite firmly,” Niinisto told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.
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