(Bloomberg) -- Swedish authorities say Russia is behind “harmful interference” deliberately targeting the Nordic country’s satellite networks that it first noted days after joining NATO earlier this year. 

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority asked the radio regulations board of the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union to address the Russian disruptions at a meeting that starts Monday, according to a June 4 letter to the United Nations agency that has not been previously reported. 

The PTS, as the Swedish agency is called, complained to Russia about the interference on March 21, the letter said. That was two weeks after the country joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, cementing the military alliance’s position in the Baltic Sea. 

Russia has increasingly sought to disrupt European communication systems since the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, as it tests the preparedness of the European Union and NATO. European satellite companies have been targeted by Russian radio frequency interference for months, leading to interrupted broadcasts and, in at least two instances, violent programming replacing content on a children’s channel. 

Swedish authorities said interference from Russia and Crimea has targeted three different Sirius satellite networks situated at the orbital position of 5-degrees east. That location is one of the major satellite positions serving Nordic countries and eastern Europe.  

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was unaware of the issue. A spokesperson for Sweden’s PTS declined to comment beyond the contents of the letter. 

“These disruptions are, of course, serious and can be seen as part of wider Russian hybrid actions aimed at Sweden and others,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We are working together with other countries to find a response to this action.” 

Kristersson added that the disruption affected TV broadcasts in Ukraine that relied on the targeted satellite, which is owned by a Swedish company, which he didn’t identify. 

France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have filed similar complaints to the ITU, which coordinates the global sharing of radio frequencies and satellite orbits. The countries are all seeking to discuss the interference at the Radio Regulations Board meeting next week. 

The issue is the latest problem in the Baltics and Nordic regions attributed to Moscow. Sweden was the victim of a wave of cyberattacks earlier this year suspected of emanating from Russia.

In April, Estonia and Finland accused Moscow of jamming GPS signals, disrupting flights and maritime traffic as it tested the resilience of NATO members’ technology infrastructure.

Brussels raised the issue at an ITU Council meeting earlier this month. “We express our concern, as several ITU member states have recently suffered harmful interferences affecting satellite signals, including GPS,” the EU said in a statement on June 10. 

Starlink Block

The Radio Regulations Board is also set to discuss the ongoing dispute between Washington and Tehran over whether Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite network should be allowed to operate in Iran. 

Iran has sought to block Starlink, arguing that the network violates the UN agency’s rules prohibiting use of telecommunications services not authorized by national governments. The board ruled in favor of Iran in March. 

--With assistance from Jonas Ekblom, Greg Sullivan and Alessandro Speciale.

(Adds comment from Swedish prime minister in seventh paragraph.)

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