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Home* News and Stories → Rus­si­an espio­na­ge in Nor­way inclu­ding Sval­bard

Rus­si­an espio­na­ge in Nor­way inclu­ding Sval­bard

Russia’s hybrid war against the west has star­ted to hit Nor­way, inclu­ding the country’s arc­tic islands of Sval­bard. Dro­nes of unknown ori­gin have in recent weeks been seen fly­ing near important infra­struc­tu­re inclu­ding tech­no­lo­gy of the oil and gas indus­try. In some cases, this has included dro­nes fly­ing seve­ral thousand met­res high, well bey­ond the ran­ge of small con­su­mer-type dro­nes that are used for exam­p­le by ama­teur pho­to­graph­ers. Today (Tues­day, 25 Octo­ber) a man was arres­ted in Trom­sø, as NRK repor­ted. The man is suspec­ted of espio­na­ge under fal­se iden­ti­ty for a Rus­si­an intel­li­gence ser­vice.

Drone Spitsbergen

Dro­nes can be used for a wide ran­ge of pur­po­ses, from inno­cent pho­to­gra­phy through sci­en­ti­fic work, SAR and poli­ce ope­ra­ti­ons up to espio­na­ge, mili­ta­ry ope­ra­ti­ons and bomb ter­ror. The pho­to shows a public demons­tra­ti­on of dro­nes used by the Sys­sel­mes­ter of Sval­bard for admin­stra­ti­ve pur­po­ses and SAR and poli­ce ope­ra­ti­ons.

Ano­ther man was arres­ted becau­se of ille­gal dro­ne flights in Sval­bard. Accor­ding to Barents­ob­ser­ver, the man has con­nec­tions to Putin’s envi­ron­ment. He is suspec­ted of having made ille­gal dro­ne pho­tos that are curr­ent­ly under poli­ce inves­ti­ga­ti­on. The­re are seve­ral no fly zones in Sval­bard, such as the 5 km safe­ty zones sur­roun­ding the air­ports. Addi­tio­nal­ly, Nor­way does not allow Rus­si­an citi­zens to fly dro­nes any­whe­re in Nor­we­gi­an airspace as a reac­tion to the Rus­si­an war in the Ukrai­ne. A lawy­er of the suspec­ted man has indi­ca­ted to pos­si­bly chall­enge this ban becau­se of the Sval­bard Treaty’s requi­re­ment of equal tre­at­ment, but if such a move would be suc­cessful in court is an open ques­ti­on at best.

Such Rus­si­an acti­vi­ties are likely inten­ded to crea­te fee­lings of uncer­tain­ty, con­fu­si­on and fear in other count­ries.



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last modification: 2022-10-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange