COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A Norwegian court on Wednesday sentenced a 34-year-old Russian to 90 days in prison for flying a drone in breach of a ban triggered by Russia's war against Ukraine, local media said.
The man, who was not identified, was not suspected of espionage, the Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende reported. He said he had a travel agency.
He admitted to flying the drone in southern Norway to photograph nature, the daily said, adding he claimed to be unaware that this was banned.
Numerous drone sightings have been reported in recent weeks near offshore oil and gas platforms belonging to NATO member Norway, a major oil and gas producer. Several Russian citizens have been detained for flying drones or taking photographs of sensitive sites in Norway.
Under Norwegian law, it is prohibited for aircraft operated by Russian companies or citizens “to land on, take off from or fly over Norwegian territory.” Norway is not a member of the European Union but mirrors its moves and decided on the ban earlier this year after the invasion of Ukraine.
The man sentenced Wednesday flew the device over 16 different locations in Norway in October, Norwegian broadcaster NRK said. Friends in Russia had sent him articles about Russians being arrested in Norway for flying drones, NRK said.
“Nevertheless, he continued to fly the drone without making further inquiries as to whether there were any special rules relating to drone flying for Russians,” NRK cited the Hordaland District Court as writing in its verdict.
The prosecution had asked for a 120-day sentence. Prosecutor Marit Formo said she was “very satisfied with the verdict” of court.