Friday was one Russian citizen detained for two weeks After he was arrested on his way out of Norway with two drones and four terabytes of image and movie files, parts of it were encrypted.
On Thursday, a man living in Trondelag was accused of making serious threats against the Ormen Lang gas station. While later in the day, armed police acted after a possible observation of a drone near the Kårstø processing plant in Tysvær municipality.
Such events bring debate about the risks they pose to Norway, what the consequences are and how the government should act, especially in light of the tense state of security policy in Europe.
– psychological game
Principal Bali Yedestibo at the Dagbladet Military College said he’s not worried in the sense that Russia is likely not interested in escalating the war outside Ukraine given the challenges they already face. But he is open to Russia trying to influence political processes in the West.
– Maybe they are trying to create division and disrupt the unit that was built after all and which we managed to preserve until further notice.
This is a psychological game where the Russians are trying to influence the way we think, the decisions we make, and how we relate to our neighbors and our allies.
Arrest in Storskog
The Russian arrested in Storskog was accused of violating the penal code and Sanctions RegulationsRussian citizens are prohibited from traveling in Norway.
Naval commander and researcher Tor Ivar Strowmen told the Naval Academy Dagbladet that the arrest primarily shows that the police are taking the matter seriously.
– It is known, among other things from the annual PST reports, that Russia conducts active collection operations in Norway. What we’re seeing now is that we’re finally starting to put some hurdles in front of them, Strowmen tells Dagbladet.
Police attorney Anya Endebauer tells Dagbladet That the detained Russian admitted to drones in Norway, but claimed that the material obtained included pictures of homes and nature, and that they were to be used for private purposes.
However, if it turns out that the man has worked with or associated with the Russian authorities, Strømmen believes that Norway should provide a strong diplomatic response to Russia.
– If this is likely to be an activity that was organized or coordinated by the Russian authorities, then we should give a strong diplomatic reaction and seriously consider preventing the Russians from accessing the kingdom.
While Ydstebø evaluates it in the following way:
– If the person in question works for the secret services, or has a mission associated with it, then he is spying for all practical purposes.
PST has a continuous dialogue
The Director of Communications Trond Hojobakken at the Police Security Service (PST) told Dagbladet that he is in contact with the local police regarding the specific case.
There is an ongoing dialogue between the local police and the PST about the responsibility to investigate this case. It may be appropriate to move the investigation to the PST, but it may also continue in the relevant police district, Hugubakken tells Dagbladet.
In general about such messages says the following:
Reports of drones and other suspicious scenes reported to the police or PST are followed up and investigated as much as possible. The aim of the investigations is to clarify whether this is an activity that is legally permissible or may involve illegal intelligence activities.
The Russian Consulate General in Kirkenes informed Dagbladet that they were in contact with the detained man.
“The Russian Consulate General in Kirkenes is aware of this situation. We are in contact with the detainee and provide the necessary consular assistance. We strive for the Norwegian authorities to respect his legitimate rights and interests and to be in contact with his lawyer,” they told Dagbladet.
In addition to seriously considering preventing the Russians from reaching Norway, Strumann believes that Norway should give the armed forces, where the armed forces have the authority of the military police, and the police, including the internal guard when they assist the police, the opportunity to use active means to neutralize the use of drones illegally in Norway.
Today, the legal basis for destroying drones is very limited in terms of what they can do, says Strommen.
Strommann also believes that the National Security Service (NSM) The digital map of restricted areas for airborne sensor systems should be removed. The map is intended to show drone pilots where flying is prohibited, but the result is that it provides an updated overview of the areas that Norwegian authorities want to protect, including NATO bases and national intelligence facilities.
Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness responded to Dagbladet’s inquiries on Friday.
Ydstebø says that if Russia can monitor Norway’s oil and gas facilities with drones, these materials could later be used for sabotage or the threat of sabotage.
– Then they can, on purpose, and with relatively few resources, damage the central parts of such a facility. If they can get a good picture of the important links that keep such a system in order, they can plan and possibly get maximum effect from relatively small efforts.
He explains that threats by themselves, such as bomb threats, are sufficient to disrupt activity at Norwegian oil and gas facilities.
This is because resources must be allocated to protect it and resources to investigate such threats. In this way, for example, Russia can disrupt and make the operation of such systems, including platforms, difficult, only by presenting well-timed and adapted threats, without necessarily having to take physical measures.
The mere fact that it stirs up controversy, that questions are being asked and raised to a higher political level contributes to creating general uncertainty. Perhaps the Russians hope to be able to influence Norwegian decisions regarding the war in Ukraine, such as aid, arms support, etc.
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