Norwegian police arrest Russian man for flying drone amid heightened security

The city of Tromso, its surroundings and the airport as seen from the window of a passenger plane on August 2, 2020 in Tromso, Norway. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

OSLO—Norwegian police arrested a Russian man at the airport in the Arctic town of Tromsoe and charged him with flying a drone, the police said Saturday.

Police seized a drone and a large amount of photographic equipment, including several memory cards, when they arrested a 51-year-old man who admitted flying a drone in Norway on Friday, police said.

Sanctions prohibit Russian companies and citizens from operating aircraft in Norway.

Police Prosecutor Jacob Berg said in a statement: “Among the seized materials were photographs from the Kirkenes airport and photographs of a Wehrmacht Bell helicopter.”

Berg said the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) was also involved in the case.

Police are seeking a court order to detain the man for four weeks, they said.

The defendant told police he had entered Norway via Storskog on the northern border on Thursday and was en route to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

It is the second time in a week that a Russian citizen has been arrested for flying a drone in Norway, and another man was detained for the first two weeks after being arrested at the Storskog border crossing.

Norway has raised its alert level in response to a Sept. 26 leak in the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, following numerous drone sightings near oil and gas infrastructure in recent weeks. .

Norway has become Europe’s largest gas supplier after a sharp drop in flows from Russia.