The Netherlands should have stopped Greenpeace: Russian ministry

The Netherlands should have done more to stop the environmental organisation Greenpeace from taking action around a drilling rig in the Arctic sea in September, the Russian foreign ministry is quoted as saying by Dutch media on Friday.

The ship Arctic Sunrise operates under the Dutch flag, so the Netherlands should have done more, the ministry said in a statement, accusing the Dutch state of ‘inaction’.

In September, Russian coastguards seized the ship and its 30 crew members were arrested during a protest about drilling in the Arctic sea. They are currently in jail awaiting trial for hooliganism and other charges.

Illegal activities

‘The whole situations is largely due to the fact that the Dutch state was inactive when it was clear the ship was inside Russian waters in order to carry out illegal activities,’ a foreign ministry spokesman is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.

This ‘provocation’ was a grave infringement of Russian law, the spokesman said.

Dutch king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima are in Moscow on Friday night for a dinner with Russian president Vladimir Putin. On Saturday they will attend a concert to close a year-long celebration of 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Russia.

The celebrations have been marred by a string of incidents, including the arrest of a Russian diplomat.

Greenpeace on Friday published footage of the Russian authorities taking over the ship.


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