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Who is Benjamin Rich? YouTuber denies being arrested at Russia-controlled space centre in Kazakhstan

Baikonur is only open to tourists who apply for permission from the Russian space agency Roscosmos

Benjamin Rich, a British national best known for his YouTube travel blog, has denied Russia’s claim that he was arrested at the Baikonur Cosmodrome spaceport.

But who is Benjamin Rich and what happened in Kazakhstan?

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Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Benjamin Rich?

Benjamin Rich, 48, is a YouTuber, best known for his Bald and Bankrupt travel blog.

He specialises in travel to remote and sometimes dangerous parts of the world and has 3.5 million followers on his channel.

Benjamin Rich, 48, is a YouTuber, best known for his Bald and Bankrupt travel blog

What happened in Kazakhstan?

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said on Saturday (7 May) that Mr Rich and Belarusian national Alina Tseliupa had been arrested at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Baikonur is now open to tourists who apply for permission from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

In an online post, Rogozin said Mr Rich and Ms Tseliupa had been detained near one of the launch pads and that they were being held by city authorities.

Mr Rogozin said local authorities were determining "the exact level of participation in illegal activities" by the pair.

He also posted photos of Mr Rich’s visa and Ms Tseliupa’s passport.

However, Mr Rich said he was only questioned for a few hours by authorities, and in an Instagram story he said he was not arrested by any means.

He posted on Instagram to reveal he had been released, along with footage of him showing off buildings in the former closed Soviet city.

"I’ve woken up to a load of messages asking me if I’m OK. Apparently people think I’m in a gulag because of some Twitter post," he said.

"Basically I was questioned by Russian police for a few hours for going to see the Buran rocket without the special permission and given a £60 administrative fine just like hundreds of foreign adventurers before me.

"The police also were nice enough to show me the closed town of Baikonur. Has an awesome mosaic of a Cosmonaut. Currently lying in my hotel room watching TV and eating Doshirak (red of course)… Hardly a gulag."