London, Thanasis Gavos

Russia has jammed the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal of a plane carrying the UK Defense Secretary on an official visit to Poland.

Grand Shapps was traveling on Wednesday morning in a Royal Air Force jet to visit soldiers at a base near Poland’s border with Belarus.

When the Dassault 900LX aircraft was flying over the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad the captain lost the GPS signal for a few minutes, which happened again on the return flight later that day, this time for 30 minutes.

The aircraft’s internal wireless network (Wi-Fi) was also jammed.

However, it is believed that the governor immediately turned to alternative methods of determining the position of the aircraft and that there was no question of safety for the minister and his entourage, which included British journalists.

This interference, however, could pose a security risk to commercial aircraft in the area.

A defense source cited by the Daily Telegraph said the cyber-interference was “directly linked to Putin, the attack on Ukraine and sensitivity over Kaliningrad”, an enclave between Poland and Lithuania. “There is no excuse and it was extremely irresponsible on Russia’s part,” he added.

It is noted that Finland, Norway and Poland have warned this year that Russia’s practice of interfering with the GPS of aircraft affects in addition to warplanes and civilian or patient airlift flights.

In 2021, systematic interference with the GPS system of UK fighter jets taking off from the Akrotiri base in Cyprus was reported.

The prevailing scenario at the time was that the interference came from Russian military installations in Syria.