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Russian Journalists Detained for Filming Oil Spill with Drone

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Two journalists have been arrested after filming an oil spill in Russia’s far northern Komi Republic, 7x7 news website reported.

Maxim Polyakov and Vladimir Prokushev were detained for two hours while entering the town of Usinsk on Saturday after filming the oil spill with a drone.

The pair had blamed the spill on energy company Lukoil, which has a facility in the Komi region. The journalists claimed that the company had asked Russia’s Internal Affairs Ministry to bring the pair in for questioning, and that Lukoil security guards had attempted to interfere with their work, 7x7 reported.

Police also attempted to confiscate the drone, claiming that the device needed to be registered. Officers later relented when lawyers found that the journalists' drone weighed less than 5 kilos. Under Russian law, only drones which weigh over 30 kilograms need to be registered.

The resource-rich Komi Republic suffers annual oil spills. One of the largest spills in history took place in the region in 1994, releasing 60,000 tons of oil into the environment.

Lukoil have denied any involvement in this latest spill.

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