COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The son of a Russian businessman close to President Vladimir Putin favored Tuesday as he opened the trial in Norway, where he is accused of breaking a law banning Russians from flying drones.
Andrei Yakunin, who holds both Russian and British passports, was arrested in Hammerfest, Norway’s Arctic region, on October 17 after traveling through the Arctic Svalbard archipelago and along the Norwegian coast. The archipelago lies more than 800 kilometers (500 mi) north of the Norwegian mainland.
The police went to his boat and seized drones and electronic equipment. Yakunin, 47, was filmed with a drone climbing a mountain, walking on glaciers and sailing, according to his lawyer John Christian Elden, who said Yakunin should be considered a British citizen, not a Russian citizen.
The Norwegian news agency NTB says Yakunin must fly the drones on several occasions in Svalbard between August 3 and September 6.
Yakunin is the son of Russian businessman Vladimir Yakunin, a longtime ally of Putin, who was placed on the US State Department’s list of Russian officials and businessmen after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean island in 2014.
The businessman’s son is still in custody. The trial will continue until Friday.
Several drones have been spotted near offshore oil and gas platforms in Norway, a NATO member and major oil and gas producer. Several Russian citizens have been detained in Norway for flying drones or taking pictures of sensitive places.
On the same Tuesday, a 50-year-old Russian man was arrested at the Norwegian-Russian border with a drone and cameras and various photographic equipment, sentenced to 120 days in prison, according to Norwegian media.
"Tv-fan. Wannabe musikkevangelist. Frilansstudent. Bacon-utøver. Zombie-lærer. Utforsker."