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A Russian billionaire adventurer and an associate were stopped at Yellowknife Airport in Canada’s Northwest Territories last week for busting Canada’s ban on Russians in its airspace. Apparently, the ban transcends just aircraft since the Falcon 900 the duo arrived on after a direct flight from Geneva Switzerland is registered in the Cayman Islands and owned by a company in the British Virgin Islands, according to research done by the National Post. Onboard was Vasily Shakhnovsky, a former top Russian oil executive found guilty on corruption charges in Russia in 2003, and mountaineer Vasily Yelagin. The two were apparently in Canada’s North for a dress rehearsal of their plan to drive land vehicles on a polar circumnavigation. The trip is billed as the TransGlobal Car Expedition.

On Friday, Canadian officials announced the occupants, including the pilots, and owners of the aircraft had been fined a total of about $18,000 USD for violating its ban on Russian operators in its airspace. According to Canadian officials, the ban extends to “Russian nationals” who charter aircraft that enter its airspace. Canada released the aircraft to fly back to Geneva but it was not allowed to take any passengers. It’s still not clear what became of Shakhnovsky and Yelagin. They were not arrested by Canadian authorities and reportedly spent several days at a local hotel while the issues with the aircraft were dealt with. Assuming all this gets sorted out, the duo is planning to be back in Yellowknife in February of 2023 to start a four-month drive to Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk via the North Pole.

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