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Source: UK diplomats near Russian military airfield were performing duties

March 16, 3:23 UTC+3 LONDON
In early March, UK Embassy in Moscow’s Defense Attache Air Commodore Carl Scott and Assistant Naval Aattache R. Coatalen-Hodgson visited without permission an area of restricted access in south Russia
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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

LONDON, March 15 /TASS/. British diplomats who photographed the territory of a military airfield in Mozdok did that in the course of performing their professional duties, a source at the British Foreign Office told TASS on Tuesday.

"It is routine for Defense Attaches to travel around their host countries in the course of their diplomatic duties. This is not different in Russia. The Defense Attaches from the British Embassy in Moscow submitted to all relevant checks requested by the Russian authorities," the source said.

Representatives of a number of foreign countries, including accredited diplomats have been illegally trying to obtain information about the activities of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, a source in Russian security services said on Tuesday.

According to him, early in March, UK Embassy in Moscow’s Defense Attache Air Commodore Carl Scott and Assistant Naval Aattache R. Coatalen-Hodgson visited without permission the Mozdok region of the North Ossetia-Alania republic, an area with restricted access for foreign nationals.

"During their journey the British diplomats were caught covertly surveilling the Mozdok military airfield using the special photo and video equipment", he said.

The UK citizens admitted photographing certain facilities of the military airfield but refused to hand over the footage and photos under the pretext of diplomatic immunity.

After drawing up of the administrative offense protocol the police demanded that the UK citizens leave the controlled access area, the source said.

Previously, in September 2012, Scott together with a technical officer of the UK Embassy’s military attache’s office had been detained by Russian law enforcers in the Alagirsky district of the North Ossetia-Alania republic for illegal entering a controlled access area.

In mid-March 2016, US citizen Paul Brian Filmer was detained near the Chkalovsky military airport in the Moscow region for using a radio scanner set on the flight center’s frequency and for photographing military and special task aircraft utilized at the airport.

"The competent authorities, pointing to the inadmissibility of such actions, released the US citizen who arrived in Russia on a tourist visa after drawing up a protocol," the source said.

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