Norway's Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen has reiterated his claims that Russia disrupted global positioning system signals during recent NATO drills in his country. According to Bakke-Jensen, Norway has "electronic proof" of the Russian jamming.
Following NATO's massive Trident Juncture drills last November, Finland and Norway claimed that Moscow may have intentionally disrupted GPS signals. This, they claimed, may have affected the navigation of civilian air traffic in the Arctic.
"Russia asked us to give proof. So we gave them the proof", Frank Bakke-Jensen said, as quoted by Reuters. By his own admission, the "proof" consisted of measurements showing that signals had been jammed.
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".
"Russia said 'thank you, we will come back when our experts review that'. To have such an answer from Russia is a positive thing", Bakke-Jensen ventured. "To be a neighbour of Russia you need to be patient", he mused.
Oddly enough, the news of Norway allegedly having proof of Russia's GPS meddling received no coverage in Norwegian mainstream media, which are often quite happy to place the blame on Russia.
Earlier, both Norway and Finland protested to Russia over alleged jamming. However, the protests were dismissed by Moscow. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov disclaimed them as "fantasy", whereas Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasised an existing trend of "accusing Russia of various deadly sins".
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Norway fires grave accusations against Russia. A series of security reports have identified Russia as the single largest threat to Norway, alongside China.
In February 2019, Lieutenant General Morten Haga Lunde, the director of Norway's Intelligence Service, claimed Russian Su-24s had performed a mock strike against a Norwegian radar. According to him, the Russian squad turned back shortly before entering Norwegian airspace.
The Norwegian fishing village of Vardø has since 1998 housed a US-backed radar installation called Globus II. While it is officially tasked with tracking space junk, its suspected role in the US anti-missile system and capability of building a signature database of Russian missiles has made it a thorn in Norwegian-Russian relations.