Finland has summoned the Russian ambassador to express its concern over interference with aviation GPS signals in Finnish Lapland.
The Foreign Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Matti Anttonen, discussed the issue with Russian envoy Pavel Kuznetsov on Monday.
Anttonen explained Finland’s concern over the possible danger to civilian aviation from Russian interference. He called on Moscow to provide more information and to behave responsibly.
On Friday the ministry said it agreed with Norway’s finding that that the GPS signal disruption came from Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The jamming took place over a wide swath of both countries during Nato’s Trident Juncture military drills in late October and early November. Finland and Sweden, which are not Nato members, took part in the exercise, with some air operations based in Finnish Lapland.
The ministry has submitted a report on the matter to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.
Normal diplomatic interaction
Sari Rautio, head of the ministry’s security policy and crisis management unit, said that both sides in the discussion expressed interest in aviation safety, but that no further concrete steps were agreed. She said that it remains to be seen what any possible follow-up on the request for additional information would be.
Russia has in the past denied interfering with Finnish GPS signals. Rautio declined to elaborate on Kuznetsov’s response to the issue at the meeting. She described it as a normal diplomatic interaction, conducted in a positive spirit.
Kuznetsov began his second stint as ambassador to Helsinki last year after holding the same post around the time of collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s.
Moscow says no evidence presented
Later on Monday, the Russian Embassy issued a statement saying that the Finns had not provided any evidence proving that the jamming source was located in Russia, reported the news agency Tass.
In a statement, Ambassador Kuznetsov is quoted as saying that "aviation safety was as important for Russia as it was for Finland".
"We received no information proving that the jamming source was located in Russia. In this regard, we believe that a thorough expert dialogue, involving the relevant agencies from the countries of the region, is necessary for the consideration of such situations," he added.
"Finland agreed it was reasonable to study the possibility of enhancing the efficiency of inter-agency information exchange concerning the navigation situation in connection to civil flights and take timely steps in response to its possible changes," the statement added.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov previously said Moscow had no information about GPS failures or Russia's possible involvement.
17.06: Updated with Russian response and more details