Russia™s main investigative agency says the recent protest bid by Greenpeace at an offshore oil-drilling platform in the Arctic has posed a œreal threat” to the security of personnel.
Moscow™s denunciation came on Monday, less than two weeks after the September 18 protest at the oil platform owned by state-controlled energy giant Gazprom.
All 30 people, including two journalists, who were on the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise, were sentenced to two months in jail pending an investigation into the matter.
A statement by the investigative committee said the ship had violated the platform™s 500-meter security zone, and threatened oil workers and attacked coast guards. œ(Their) actions are rated as a real threat for the platform workers’ personal safety…”
Experts said the statements reflect Moscow™s intent to prosecute the jailed environmentalists for their protest — a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Greenpeace Russia denied the charge, saying the Arctic Sunrise stayed farther than the 500 meters established by Russian and international law.
However, the inflatable boats used by activists did violate this zone but posed no danger, the organization added.
Thirty activists of 19 different nationalities were arrested when Russian border guards stormed the Greenpeace icebreaker vessel on September 19, a day after two of its activists climbed a Russian oil rig in the Pechora Sea to protest the environmental impact of oil drilling on the Arctic™s fragile ecosystem.
The main target of the environmental activists was the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, a flagship project in Russia™s efforts to kick-start its offshore drilling activities in the Arctic.
Major foreign oil corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Eni, and Statoil have signed lucrative deals with state-owned oil monolith Rosneft to work in Russia™s Arctic region.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups oppose oil drilling in the Arctic region, arguing that modern technologies are insufficient for cleaning up possible oil spills threatening the region™s fragile ecosystem, and that drilling in the region cannot be economically viable without state subsidies.
Copyright: Press TV