Moscow summons Norwegian ambassador after Russians arrested on drone charges

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By Euronews  with AFP
FILE: FILE - In this May 8, 2014 file photo, a Parrot Bebop drone flies during a demonstration event in San Francisco.
FILE: FILE - In this May 8, 2014 file photo, a Parrot Bebop drone flies during a demonstration event in San Francisco.   -   Copyright  AP Photo

The Kremlin has summoned Norway's ambassador to Moscow in protest after several Russian nationals were arrested in Norway and charged with illegally flying drones. 

Norwegian Ambassador Robert Kvile was told the arrests were "unacceptable" and that Moscow denounced them as "politically motivated" and having "nothing to do with the principles of fair and impartial justice," according to a statement released by the Russian foreign ministry. 

Moscow said it called on Norwegian authorities to "put an end to these Russophobic actions and persecution of Russian citizens on the basis of their nationality".

The foreign ministry in Oslo confirmed to Norway's TV2 news that the meeting that took place was held "in a good tone," and that the ambassador "took the opportunity to inform [the Russians] about Norwegian sanctions legislation" which bans all Russians from flying drones in Norway.

Nearly a dozen Russians have been arrested in Norway in recent weeks for flying drones or photographing sensitive sites.

One of them, a Russian citizen who left Russia to escape mobilisation in the army, was sentenced last week to 90 days in prison for flying a drone "several times" in the south of the country.

Although he only photographed and filmed landscapes, the Norwegian court ruled that he had violated the overflight ban that Norway, like several other Western countries, has imposed on the Russians following the invasion of Ukraine.

Last month, the Russian embassy in Oslo criticised the "psychosis" it said had gripped Norway, a NATO member with which Russia shares a 198km border in the far north.