The crew of Greenpeace campaign ship Arctic Sunrise have collected their exit visas to leave Russia after piracy charges against them were dropped following a new amnesty law.
It is not known exactly when Dutch activists Mannes Ubels and Faiza Oulahsen will return to the Netherlands. Oulahsen told news agency ANP she was keeping it secret.
‘The first people I want to see at Schiphol airport are my family and some friends. That will be a private moment,’ she said.
The ship Arctic Sunrise, which sails under the Dutch flag, remains in Murmansk port. Greenpeace officials said they expect it to be released now charges against the 30-strong crew have been dropped.
The crew and ship were seized in September after protesting against Gazprom drilling in the Arctic sea. According to Reuters, their release ‘removes an irritant in relations in what Kremlin critics say is a move timed to improve Russia’s image ahead of the Sochi Olympics.’
Several world leaders have said they will not attend the games and pressure is mounting on Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte to follow their lead.
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