A British YouTube star has been arrested at a Russian-controlled space center in Kazakhstan, the head of the Russian space agency said.
Benjamin Rich, a travel blogger who runs the Bald and Bankrupt channel, was detained with Alina Tseliupa near a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Dmitry Rogozin said.
Mr Rogozin said local authorities would determine “the exact extent to which the couple was involved in illegal activities”.
He posted photos of Mr Rich’s visa and Ms Tseliupa’s passport. Mr. Ritchie, who specializes in traveling to remote and sometimes dangerous parts of the world, has 3.5 million followers.
He was later released by authorities and fined, the blogger said. His latest video was filmed in Syria and released on April 24. In an Instagram post last week, he said, “Syrian tan, back to the country of the Soviet mosaic,” without specifying where he was.
Mr Ritchie posted on Instagram of his release, along with footage of him showing buildings in the former closed Soviet city. “I woke up with tons of text messages asking if I was okay. Apparently, people thought I was locked up in the Gulag because of my Twitter posts,” he said.
“Basically, I was interrogated by Russian police for hours for seeing Blizzard missiles without special permission and given an administrative fine of £60, like hundreds of foreign adventurers before me. “The police were also kind enough to show me the closed city of Baikonur. There’s a great mosaic of astronauts. Just lying in my hotel room watching TC and eating doshirak (red of course)….. . Hardly a gulag.”
Baikonur is now open to tourists applying for a permit from the Russian space agency Roskosmos. It is located about 1,100 kilometers (680) miles southwest of Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan.