Russia’s security forces only established a no-fly zone around President Vladimir Putin’s alleged palace due to increased intelligence collection activity by NATO members, the security services told the RBC news website Wednesday.
Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s recent viral investigative video alleges that the high-security Black Sea estate enjoys presidential-level protection from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Federal Guard Service (FSO).
The FSB told RBC it had established a no-fly zone over the area last July because of “increased intelligence activity by a number of neighboring states, including those belonging to NATO” targeting an FSB border outpost that was put into operation in October 2020.
“There are no other tasks assigned to the [outpost],” the FSB was quoted as saying.
Putin denied this week that the $1.35 billion property with an underground ice palace, a vineyard and an amphitheater belongs to him. The Kremlin attributed its ownership to “one or several businessmen” but declined to name them out of what it called ethical concerns.
The FSB also denied that a no-sail order is in effect in the waters surrounding Putin’s alleged palace as reported in Navalny’s investigation, which has gained over 91 million YouTube views in one week.
The FSO denied outright that the area was designated for its protection or that any FSO-imposed restrictions were in effect there, RBC reported.
Meanwhile, the Open Media investigative news website noticed that the no-fly zone over the alleged Putin palace had been in place as far back as January 2015. It also reported that at least two companies involved in providing services for the property had named it as “Putin’s palace” on their websites.