Is the Baltic Sea a New Front for Russia's Electronic Warfare?

map of russia's electronic warfare

Consistent reports of GPS interference have plagued Finland, Poland, the Baltic states, and the Baltic Sea. This poses a significant threat to civilian aviation and regional military security. Suspicions point to Russia's Kaliningrad exclave as the source of these disruptions.

Beginning in early 2024, civilian pilots flying over the Baltic states, Finland, and Poland reported widespread disruptions to their navigation systems. GPS malfunctions, interference, and false signals became common occurrences. Eurocontrol received 985 such reports in the first two months of 2024 alone, a dramatic increase from the 1,371 reports received in the entirety of 2023.

Ship owners have echoed similar concerns about hampered navigation in the Baltic Sea, with the source of interference being the same: GPS malfunctions.

These reports were not new to European militaries. In early February 2024, during the Talvelaager ("Winter Camp") military exercises in Estonia, aimed at winter defense readiness, commanders immediately reported GPS malfunctions across their country and neighboring regions.

Most recently, British media outlets like The Times and The Guardian reported a 30-minute signal blackout experienced by the plane carrying British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps. This occurred while the minister's plane was in proximity to the Kaliningrad region.

What's going on?

These incidents point to deliberate attempts to disrupt satellite operations, commonly known as signal jamming. This tactic is frequently employed during combat to suppress the enemy's communication systems and is often a component of electronic warfare (EW) systems.

EW is used to block enemy communications, interfere with the navigation of ground, naval, and air forces, and increasingly, counter drone operations. It appears similar systems designed specifically for satellite signal blocking are now active over the Baltic region.

However, there’s a little catch: there is no war in Poland, Finland, Estonia, Germany, or the Baltic Sea.

Kaliningrad as a key suspect

No one has officially accused Russia of signal jamming, but unofficially, officials from different countries agree: the jamming is coming from Russian territory, namely the Kaliningrad Region, which is located between Germany and Poland. This was confirmed by researchers who track interference with navigation systems.

Maps used by researchers show how GPS problems occur in different parts of the Baltic on certain days. For example, here is the situation in Estonia during the winter exercises.

Territories that experienced changes to signal. (Source:
Territories that experienced changes to signal. (Source:

And here is mid-March, when the British defense secretary's plane could have been in the region.

Territories that experienced changes to signal. (Source:
Territories that experienced changes to signal. (Source:

It is important to highlight that GPS signal interference is not constant and does not occur in just one particular country or region, which means that it is a controlled jamming process with specific goals.

There are good reasons to suspect Kaliningrad. Russia's Kaliningrad Region is the only unfriendly entity in the entire region, and Russian officials themselves are actively asserting the need to confront NATO countries. Therefore, it is obvious that this is a show of force and a demonstration of capabilities. But let's set aside speculation and return to the research.

The fact is that Russia is already actively using jamming in another region, which also affects neighboring countries. Namely, in the Black Sea. As research shows, satellite signal jamming systems are located in Crimea and are aimed at blocking the operation of Ukrainian naval drones as combat units and Ukrainian military aircraft, which have made sorties to attack the Russian Black Sea Fleet several times. In addition, jamming in the region interferes with the operation of civilian transport ships. Based on this, we can see that Russia has the necessary technology.


Moreover, researchers from different teams have tried to find or calculate the location of the jamming itself. The teams are different, but their conclusion is the same—Kaliningrad.

(Source: Markus Jonsson.)
(Source: Markus Jonsson.)
(Source: )
(Source: )

Similar signal jamming methods have also been reported from an entirely different region - the Middle East, where one of Russia's few allies is located: Iran. There, signal jamming from time to time comes towards Israel, which is an enemy of Iran. Jamming often occurs on the border with Lebanon, where Iran's proxy Hezbollah is based. This is intended to prevent Israel from using its missiles and aircraft against Iran's allied forces.

Skeptics argue that GPS interference could be coming from the war in Ukraine, but the distance is too great for that. Moreover, interference began to be massively recorded in early 2024, although Russia launched a full-scale invasion in 2022 and at that time European systems did not record such a scale. 

A war that Europe doesn’t see

Russia's disruption of European logistics extends beyond GPS jamming. In early April, the Financial Times exposed attempts by Russian hackers to cripple European railway companies. One notable target was the Czech Republic's railways, where cybercriminals attempted to attack the signaling systems of the national operator, Ceske Drahy. While the attack was thwarted, its success could have resulted in catastrophic damage and endangered civilian lives.

This is not an isolated incident. Since 2022, Russian hackers have launched thousands of attacks against the railway systems of Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, and Estonia. Railways are critical lifelines –  facilitating both civilian evacuation and the transport of heavy military equipment to the frontline.

Despite this, the damage Russia is inflicting remains downplayed or even ignored.  Such interference constitutes clear acts of aggression. When directed against civil aviation, railways, or maritime transport, it directly endangers civilians, which is strictly prohibited. The case of the military exercises in Estonia highlights a deliberate attempt to undermine a country's defense capabilities. Pro-Russian bloggers openly celebrate these actions, gloating about how "Russia creates obstacles for unfriendly neighbors."

The Baltic states grasp the gravity of the situation and extend maximum aid to Ukraine, recognizing the need to defeat Russia decisively. The rest of the civilized world must also awaken to this reality.

See all