The final chapter in the legal ordeal of the Arctic 30 began as the group was asked to attend a meeting at Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee, where the criminal case against them is being dropped en masse.
After the meeting, Frank Hewetson from the UK said: “Well that was an extremely odd Christmas morning.”
According to Greenpeace they will then have one more hurdle – securing exit visas in their passports – before the non-Russians are free to leave the country and be reunited with their families. A meeting with the Federal Migration Service is scheduled for later today. The Arctic 30 are expected to leave Russia in the coming days.
The Arctic 30 have lived together in a St Petersburg hotel since being bailed nearly five weeks ago. They spent Christmas Day, (in the west, but not in Russia) at the Investigative Committee and then the Federal Migration Service. They will then have Christmas dinner together – possibly the last time they will all be together after a saga that started with a peaceful protest at an Arctic oil rig before they were jailed for two months, sparking a huge global campaign.
Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said:
“By taking the amnesty nobody is admitting guilt, far from it, these are people who remain proud of the stand they took for Arctic protection. And now this chapter is nearly over. Greenpeace would like to thank the consular officials in St Petersburg who worked hard to get us this far. Even today many of them are giving up their own Christmas Day to push the migration service to process visas as quickly as possible.”