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Norway's domestic security agency has opened an investigation into new drone sightings near key infrastructure sites just hours after Bergen Airport, which is near Norway’s main naval base, briefly closed due to drone sightings, the Associated Press reports.
“There can also be observations that could be other phenomena, for instance weather. We are sure that there is at least one,” AP cited Bergen police spokesman Ørjan Djuvik as saying.
According to deputy chief of the Norwegian Police Security Service Hedvig Moe, numerous drone sightings have been reported in recent months near offshore oil and gas platforms and other Norwegian infrastructure.
“We believe (the drone flights are) carried out in a way that makes it difficult to find out who is really behind it,” although Norwegian authorities suspect Russian involvement in operating unmanned aerial vehicles that “can be used for espionage or simply to create fear. Russia simply has more to gain and less to lose by conducting intelligence activities in Norway now compared to the situation before the war. It is simply because Russia is in a pressed situation as a result of the war (in Ukraine) and is isolated by sanctions. We are in a tense security-political situation, and at the same time a complex and unclear threat picture that can change in a relatively short time,” Moe was quoted as saying.
Seven Russian citizens have been detained over the past few weeks for flying drones or taking photographs of sensitive sites in Norway.
Notably, on Wednesday, a 47-year-old man with dual Russian and British citizenship was jailed for two weeks on suspicion of flying drones on Norway’s Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The man has been accused of breaching sanctions which came into force after Russia went to war against Ukraine. Aircraft operated by Russian companies or citizens are prohibited “to land on, take off from or fly over Norwegian territory” under Norwegian law, which often is coordinated with the European Union.
Airport operator Avinor has revealed that 50 possible drone observations have been reported at Norway's civilian airports so far this year, nearly triple the 17 sightings recorded in 2021.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.