Putin Alleges Greenpeace Was Paid to Protest Arctic Drilling

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused environmentalists opposing Russia’s exploration of the Arctic shelf of being in the pay of unspecified backers.

MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused environmentalists opposing Russia’s exploration of the Arctic shelf of being in the pay of unspecified backers.

“Why is it done? Either to pressure a company and get sustenance from them, or fulfil someone’s order to disrupt shelf exploration – in this case, [exploration by] the Russian Federation,” Putin said about environmental protests.

Putin, who spoke during an annual press conference, did not explicitly accuse Greenpeace of working on behalf of someone else.

Neither did he suggest who could have been behind the protest, although he mentioned in the same answer the Arctic Sunrise, Greenpeace’s icebreaker that mounted the protest in September against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic.

All 30 people on board the ship were detained and charged with hooliganism in Russia, though they are due to be released soon following an amnesty approved by lawmakers this week.

Greenpeace had staged similar protests in the Arctic before, including in Russia, but has never before faced criminal prosecution over them.
Putin said the incident should be a “lesson” for Greenpeace.

He also said Russia would not abandon offshore drilling for northern oil despite the concerns of environmentalists, who claim oil exploration in the Arctic is dangerous and unprofitable.

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