During the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO, the mural defensive alliance, and Russia have come close to blows with numerous threats by the Kremlin—sometimes nuclear. Over the past few months, Russia has adapted to electronic and signals hybrid warfare—particularly towards commercial aircraft of NATO members. This version of electronic warfare is not only a concern to the security apparatus of Europe but is also growingly dangerous and poses risks to the safety of civilian aircraft.

Current GPS Jamming

During the early spring, Finnish commercial airline Finnair reported suspending flights inbound to the Estonian city of Tartu due to jamming frequencies related to Russia.

Traficom, Finland’s transportation and communications agency, would state the jamming activities are a side effect of Russia’s attempts to disrupt drone activities, as ongoing surveillance between NATO members and support operations to Ukraine has been ongoing since the full-scale war.

Estonia’s foreign ministry would later summon and dress down the Russian ambassador over the disruption of flight and international regulations over commercial aircraft. Though Finnair flights have been indefinitely suspended towards Estonia, Finland has provided alternative routes that keep their commercial airlines safe from electronic warfare.

Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu at Navy Parade. Saint Petersburg, 30 July 2017 (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons). Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vladimir_Putin_and_Sergey_Shoigu_-_Saint-Petersburg_2017-07-30_(1).jpg
Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu at Navy Parade. Saint Petersburg, 30 July 2017 (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons).

Continuous Hybrid Warfare

Tensions between Finland, Estonia, and Russia have always been turbulent due to past imperial transgressions by the latter, but relations have heightened in the last several years.

Akin to electronic warfare, Russia spends billions on informational and media warfare across various regions. The strategy helps pro-Russian governments come to power with Kremlin media or financial backing.

Currently, pro-Russian parties are gaining steam in Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands, and they also hold influence in Italy, France, Bulgaria, and Romania. In hindsight, the Kremlin is banking on their connections coming into power to not only halt military aid to Ukraine but also to cause strife within NATO and the European Union.