Moscow summons Norwegian envoy over detentions, trials against Russian citizens

Sentences against Russian citizens politically motivated, claims Foreign Ministry.

Moscow summons Norwegian envoy over detentions, trials against Russian citizens

Moscow on Monday summoned Norway’s ambassador to the Foreign Ministry, days after a Russian man was sentenced to 90 days in jail in Norway for flying a drone over Norwegian territory in violation of a ban in response to the war in Ukraine.

On Feb. 28, Norway adopted a bill banning all flights, including drones, operated or controlled by Russian citizens in Norwegian airspace, both on its mainland and in overseas territories such as Svalbard.

"In connection with the detentions and trials in recent months against Russian citizens on charges of alleged illegal use of unmanned aerial vehicles … Robert Kvile was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry. He was told that such a practice is inadmissible," a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry read.

The statement said Kvile was notified that the sentences against Russian citizens are “politically motivated and have nothing to do with the principles of fair and unbiased justice.”

The ministry called on the Norwegian authorities to “abandon such Russophobic actions and persecution of Russian citizens on the basis of nationality.”

Norway is not a member of the EU, but decided on the ban after the war. It has also supported Ukraine and its neighbors through military, humanitarian and budget support.

According to Norwegian media, the 34-year-old had admitted to flying a drone to photograph landscapes and nature "on several occasions" in October, and was not suspected of espionage.

Numerous drone sightings have been reported in recent weeks in Norway, a NATO member and major oil and gas producer, and several Russian citizens have been detained.