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Vladimir Putin: Greenpeace activists are not pirates

September 25, 2013, 13:14 UTC+3

However, they still broke international law, President says

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Greenpeace press-service

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Greenpeace press-service

MOSCOW, September 25 (Itar-Tass) - Vladimir Putin has stated that while Greenpeace activists who boarded Prirazlomnaya oil rig are not pirates, they did break international law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Arctic Forum on Wednesday: "I do not know in details what had happened, but it is absolutely obvious that they are not pirates. But formally they tried to seize the oil platform."

The president noted that technically eco-activists indeed tried to “take over the platform,” and Russia’s law enforcements did not know who was assaulting the oil rig under the guise of Greenpeace.

Putin suggested that Greenpeace should express its concerns on international forums instead of capturing platforms and ships.

Russian authorities intend to work with ecologists, but only in civilized ways, Putin added. “We proceed from the assumption that this work is arranged in civilized way. We intend not only to listen to each other, but also to come to terms with each other,” the president noted.

Incident with Arctic Sunrise

The incident took place on September 18, 2013, when a group of persons, activists of the Greenpeace environmental organization, onboard the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker flying the flag of the Netherlands, made an attempt to board the Prirazlomnaya drilling rig in the Pechora Sea the southeastern part of the Barents Sea. Russian coastal guards thwarted the attempt to board the platform and tugged the Arctic Sunrise to the port of Murmansk.

On Tuesday, September 24, investigators from the Russian Investigations Committee went onboard the ship as soon as it arrived at the Murmansk port.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace claimed that the investigators told their activists who are onboard the ship that they would be taken from the ship.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Russian Investigations Committee spokesman said that a criminal case on piracy charges had been opened over the incident.

Kremlin’s reaction

Kremlin Administration Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov said that Greenpeace activists acted too radically when they attempted to get onto a drilling rig.

“It is a well known organization, but I think they act too radically,” Ivanov told reporters in Stockholm while on a working visit.

The Kremlin official described the incident as ‘piracy in the Somali style’. “They used hooks as Somali pirates,” he noted.

Legal aftermath

Detectives have detained 30 crewmembers from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise on suspicion of piracy, spokesman of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

“Immediately after the detention according to the Russian Criminal Procedure Code three detainees, who are Russian citizens, were questioned. As for foreign citizens staying onboard the ship they were not questioned yet,” he said.

According to reports from Greenpeace press service, there are citizens of the US, Ukraine and the Netherlands among Arctic Sunrise crewmembers. The crew consists of 30 members, citizens of 19 different countries.

“All crewmembers are currently held in diverse temporary detention facilities in Murmansk,” the spokesperson said.

The whole Arctic Sunrise crew has been detained for 48 hours, as reported by the Investigative Committee official representative Vladimir Markin.  

Investigators of the Russian Investigations Committee have begun legal proceedings against Greenpeace activists who attempted to board a Russian drilling platform in Arctic waters, September 24.

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