Norwegian police said the clothes could be mistaken for official military attire
Police in Norway have fined two Russian sailors for wearing camouflage work uniforms, which were deemed likely to distress residents, local media reported on Friday.
Last week, police in the city of Kirkenes in Norway's northern province of Finnmark said that they had "carried out immigration checks on Russian sailors" wearing clothes "that could easily be mistaken for military uniforms."
Speaking to the Norwegian daily Dagbladet, law enforcement officers confirmed that the two men were fined 5,000 Norwegian krone ($500) for wearing the clothes while walking around the city.
Martine Meslo, the prosecuting officer on the case, told the outlet that the men were punished for misusing public uniforms. Meslo said that the outfits "could be mistaken for Russian military uniforms," and "could create fear and discomfort - given Russia's acts of war and the security political situation - both for the local population, but also among Ukrainian refugees who live here."
Dagbladet posted the photos of the men with blurred faces, dressed in camouflage outfits with a small flag on the breast and the word 'Russia' in Cyrillic. It is not illegal merely to wear camouflage clothes, the report said.
Meslo noted that one of the reasons why the incident resulted in a fine is that Russian sea vessels are deemed "a security threat" and are allowed to enter only three Norwegian ports, including Kirkenes. She added that in the past Russian fishing crews did not usually use such clothing.
Lawyer Bernt Heiberg told Dagbladet that the Russians should not have been fined. "The way the case is presented, I think that the police went too far by issuing a fine for something that does not appear to be punishable," he stated. He added that the uniforms could hardly have been mistaken for official, even considering that they had a Russian flag on them.
Heiberg also noted that "he has never seen anything like it," advising the Russians to take the case to the court. Both sailors have accepted the suggestion, according to the outlet.