The Norwegian ambassador to Russia was called in on the carpet in Moscow on Monday, to listen to Russian complaints about how Russian citizens have been arrested for flying drones in Norway. Many have been suspected of espionage, and charged with violating sanctions against Russia.
Ambassador Robert Kvile tried to downplay his summons to “a conversation” about the arrests Russia claims are politically motivated. “I don’t think we need to take this too seriously,” Kvile told state broadcaster NRK. “We had a good tone during the meeting.” He added that he “took the opportunity to clarify Norwegian regulations and the Norwegian sanction regime. We also went through the cases now up before Norwegian courts.”
More than a dozen Russians who claim to be tourists in Norway have been arrested after flying drones, which Norway claims is illegal under sanctions against Russia. Newspaper Bergens Tidende reported last week that a 34-year-old Russian was sentenced to 90 days in jail for flying drones in several areas around Østlandet and Vestlandet. Another Russian remains in custody in Northern Norway after being stopped at the border with drones and encrypted footage, while others around Norway have been arrested and later released.
Meanwhile, a 44-year-old man who claims to be a Brazilian researcher formally has sought release from arrest and charges that he’s really a Russian spy identified as Mikhail Valerijevitsj Mikusjin. He denies any criminal responsibiity while continuing to refuse to answer prosecutors’ questions.