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article imageRussia blocked GPS data during NATO exercises: Norway

By AFP     Nov 13, 2018 in World

Oslo on Tuesday pointed a finger squarely at Russia, accusing it of jamming GPS signals in Norway's Far North when it hosted NATO's massive exercises in October and early November.

"We know that jamming was observed between October 19 and November 7, originating from Russian ground forces in (the) Kola" peninsula, a region of northwestern Russia close to Norway, the Norwegian defence ministry said.

"We are following the situation closely, together with the authorities concerned," the ministry added in an email to AFP, confirming reports by Norwegian news agency NTB.

On Sunday, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila had said the "almost certainly deliberate" disruption of GPS signals across Lapland had put civil aviation in the region at risk.

He had suggested Moscow could be responsible, saying it was "possible" it was involved.

Russia on Monday denied the allegation, calling it "baseless".

The jamming coincided with Trident Juncture 18, NATO's biggest military exercises since the end of the Cold War, held several hundred kilometres (miles) from Norway's border with Russia from October 25 to November 7.

Prior to the manoeuvres, Russia had vowed to "retaliate", calling the exercises "anti-Russian".

The satellite disruption led to Finnish and Norwegian civil airspace operators issuing official warnings to pilots that navigation signals in northeast Lapland were unstable.

In September 2017, Norwegian authorities reported jammed GPS signals affecting civil flights in the north of the country during Russia's large Zapad military exercise.

"The foreign ministry has on several occasions in the past raised the question with Russian authorities," the defence ministry said.

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