March 18, 2019 / 3:47 PM / a month ago

Norway says it proved Russian GPS interference during NATO exercises

FILE PHOTO: British and Irish troops arrive to Hoek van Holland to travel by land to Norway, as part of the NATO's military excercise, in Hoek van Holland, Netherlands October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway has electronic proof that Russian forces disrupted global positioning system (GPS) signals during recent NATO war games, and has demanded an explanation from its eastern neighbour, the Nordic country’s defence minister said on Monday.

Both Finland and Norway said in November that Russia may have intentionally disrupted GPS signals before and during Western military exercises, which also affected the navigation of civilian air traffic in the Arctic.

Both Norway and Finland protested to Russia, which dismissed those allegations when they were first made.

“Russia asked (us) to give proof. We gave them the proof,” Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters, adding that this consisted of measurements showing signals had been jammed.

“Russia said ‘thank you, we will come back when our experts review that’. To have such an answer from Russia is a positive thing,” he said.

“To be a neighbour of Russia you need to be patient.”

Asked whether Russia could have targeted Norway intentionally, the minister said: “They were exercising very close to the border and they knew this will affect areas on the other side.”

Finland is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but took part last year as an ally in NATO’s largest exercise in decades, involving forces from 31 countries in an area stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, editing by Terje Solsvik, Editing by William Maclean

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