The Greenpeace activists from the Arctic Sunrise vessel, who were recently released on bail by St. Petersburg courts, will be able to leave Russian territory after settling some legal issues, says Russian presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.
"As soon as the issue of how they can leave Russian territory is settled, I think they will leave it," Ivanov said, pointing out that the foreign crewmembers do not have Russian visas.
In commenting on the recent developments involving the Greenpeace activists, Ivanov echoed President Vladimir Putin's Thursday remarks, in which he suggested that Greenpeace's noble ends contradict their methods.
"Not every noble idea can be pursued using inappropriate or legally incorrect means," Ivanov said, adding that there are both environmentalists and pseudo-environmentalists among the Arctic Sunrise crew.
"Not only did they want to post a banner [on the Prirazlomnaya oil rig], but also a chamber was shown that can be deployed, so that they can barricade themselves as a pure PR stunt entangled with money," Ivanov said.
It is for a court to decide whether this was disorderly conduct or not, he said.
"This should be settled legally, and we have never treated and will not treat this politically," he said.
Putin said while speaking at the Russian Literary Assembly in Moscow on Thursday that the actions of the Greenpeace environmentalists who tried to climb an oil rig in the Pechora Sea threatened the lives of the people working there.
"When they climb the platform and create an emergency situation, there could be not just one mistake of an operator but as many as possible. They get distracted from their work. Besides, we had divers under water and their lives were indeed in danger," Putin said.
Speaking about Greenpeace activists, Putin said, "Do they do noble work? Yes. Did they do the right thing when they climbed the platform? No."
The state should not be cruel but it should make sure that everyone follows certain rules, Putin said. At the same time, he admitted that the state should be lenient.
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