A 47-year-old Russian national has been arrested for filming a drone in Svalbard. – PST management says that we consider this to be an important strategic area.
The man is said to be a prominent businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the 47-year-old, he has only been on one adventure and cruise around Svalbard and Spitsbergen on a yacht. He’s been there for periods since July and admits he filmed it with a drone in Svalbard.
But the man’s father is said to be a close associate of Vladimir Putin and is on the list of recognized Russian actors in the US and UK.
This is Restricted to Russian persons Drone shooting on Norwegian territory after Russia goes to war against Ukraine. The case will now be investigated by the Norwegian Police Protection Service (PST).
– Svalbard is a very important strategic Norwegian area and important for Russia in the intelligence context, says Hedwig Moe, assistant head of the PST.
On Tuesday afternoon, he appeared in custody at Vestre Finnmark District Court.
There, a man with both British and Russian citizenship said he saw himself as British.
According to the decision of the Vestre Finnmark District Court, the court notes that it is strange for him to travel with a Russian passport.
A Russian passport was found in the bag
During the police interrogation, the man reportedly said that he kept his Russian passport in an apartment in another European country and that his passport had been with him for a long time.
“This is in stark contrast to what was discovered during the search of his Russian passport
The boat was in a black bag in his room,” writes the district court judge.
Jens Bernhard Herstad, the man’s defense attorney, tells VG that his client has admitted the true situation and is cooperating with the police.
– He is a British citizen, but also has Russian citizenship. He considers himself a British citizen and therefore sees no reason why he should come under the embargo provisions.
– Why did he fly the drone over Svalbard?
– This is two-fold: for security reasons and for social media.
– Security concerns?
– Svalbard is rugged and they were alone there, so they used drones in some environments to reduce the risk of accidents.
The conservationist says the man was on a boat that was on a cruise and adventure trip around Svalbard and Spitsbergen.
According to the prosecutor, the drone flight took place in August, while the man was arrested at Hammerfest on Monday this week.
All this time he did not board the boat. He returned to the boat last week, Herstad says, and it has since sailed from Alta to Hammerfest.
– Herstad says that he has only flown with a drone in Svalbard, for which he agreed to the actual conditions.
He was imprisoned for two weeks
– Police have received permission to detain a 47-year-old Russian citizen for two weeks, police lawyer Anja Mikkelsen writes in an email to Intbjor.
The District Court concluded that the accused was a high risk of fleeing the country and therefore his detention was justified.
– The police are investigating the case and it is too early to say anything more until we review the seizures, the police lawyer writes.
He writes that police seized drones and electronic devices for technical analysis.
Preparedness is at peak following September’s gas pipeline explosion and leak in the Baltic Sea. Drones have been reported to have been spotted at airports, oil platforms and gas facilities all along the Westland coast and in northern Norway in recent weeks.
PST has asked people to report anything suspicious.
On Wednesday morning, Bergen Airport Flesland was closed Because of at least one drone.
It became known earlier this week Four Russians arrested in Nordland For illegal photography.
PST takes over the inquiry
At the same time, seven Russian citizens have now been arrested in four separate cases where they illegally filmed with a drone, or violated the ban on taking pictures and video of armored targets.
These are the cases where recognized offenses are being talked about, but Hedwig Moe emphasizes that PST is curious to know what the purpose is.
– Mo says it could be a matter of spying, but it could also be a matter of someone filming Aurora, common sense.
Now the PST will take over the investigation of all drone cases.
– Assistant PST Chief Hedwig Moe says that we feel it is important that all investigations related to drone activity are coordinated and brought here with us in close cooperation with the police districts.
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