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Son of Russian Railways ex-head Yakunin charged with violating sanctions regulation for using drones in Svalbard

The Norwegian prosecutor's office has charged Andrey Yakunin, the son of the former head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, with violating the sanctions regulation, NRK reports.

Yakunin is in custody for illegal use of drones in Svalbard. The sanctions prohibit Russian nationals from operating planes and drones in Norway.

The indictment says that Yakunin was in Svalbard from 3 August to 6 September and repeatedly used drones during this period, according to NRK.

Yakunin was detained on 17 October. The next day, the judge sent him into custody for two weeks. On 27 October, the Hålogaland Court of Appeal ruled that the man be released from custody, but the police appealed the decision on the same day.

A district court ruled that Yakunin should be released, however, hw will stay under arrest while the prosecutor’s complaint is being processed. On 2 November, the appeals court ruled that Yakunin should be kept in custody for four weeks, pending trial on 29 November.

Yakunin‘s case is being handled by the Norwegian Security Police, the country’s counterintelligence service. The agency will transfer the court decision against the businessman to the Norwegian intelligence.

Yakunin's defenders insisted, in particular, that he should not be subjected to the same punishments as other Russians, since he is also a UK citizen. They also believe that drones are not subject to the ban on flights, since it only applies to aircraft, but this word does not have a clear definition in norwegian law.

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