Russia Suspects Greenpeace Activists Of Being Pirates

Thirty Greenpeace activists are being held in Russia for scaling a state-owned offshore oil platform as an act of protest against Russia’s energy exploration in the Arctic.

Thirty Greenpeace activists are being held by Russian authorities who are investigating them for acts of piracy, reported The New York Times.

The activists and crew members aboard a Greenpeace ship called Arctic Sunrise were attempting to scale an offshore oil platform owned by the Russian state energy giant Gazprom in the Arctic on Wednesday, Sept. 18. They were protesting against the potential environmental threats caused by Russia’s ambitious plans for energy expansion in the region.

After warning shots were fired from across the ship, the Russian Coast Guard detained all members of Greenpeace onboard. The Arctic Sunrise was then towed with the crew and activists on board to the seaport town of Murmansk where they are being investigated on potential charges of piracy.

A spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir I. Markin, said in a statement, “All those who carried out the attack on the platform will face criminal charges, regardless of their nationality.”

The crew included one American, six Britons, four Russians, two Canadians, two Dutch, two New Zealanders, two Argentines, and individuals from 12 other nations.

In a statement, Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said, “Any charge of piracy against peaceful protests has no merit in international law. We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists.”

Five Greenpeace International activists before they attempt to climb the Prirazlomnaya , the oil platform operated by Gazprom in Russia’s Pechora Sea, to stop it from becoming the first to produce oil from the ice-filled waters of the Arctic. AP

The five activists attempting to climb the Prirazlomnaya on Wednesday, Sept. 18. AP

This image made available by environmental organization Greenpeace shows a Russian Coast Guard officer (center) pointing a knife at a Greenpeace International activist (left in yellow) as other activists attempt to climb the Prirazlomnaya. AP

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was escorted by a Russian coast guard boat for four days before it reached the military base Severomorsk at dawn Tuesday, Sept. 24, on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, where Russian authorities detained the ship and crew. AP

Crew members onboard the Arctic Sunrise display a “Save The Arctic” banner they created while under tow by the Russian Coast Guard. AP

A view of Kola Bay and the seaport town of Murmansk on the Kola peninsula in Russia, where Russian authorities have taken the Arctic Sunrise and the crew for questioning. AP

People from all over the world have expressed their solidarity with the Greenpeace activists being held in Russia.

An Indonesian activist from Greenpeace holds a placard featuring pictures of Greenpeace activists being held by Russian officials during a protest outside the Russian embassy in Jakarta on Sept. 23. AFP / Getty Images

AFP / Getty Images

Indonesian environmental activists from action group Greenpeace hold a banner to protest against the arrest of Greenpeace activists. AFP / Getty Images

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