ST. PETERSBURG, November 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia would not comply with the ruling of an international court that ordered it to release a Greenpeace ship it seized in September with all crew, a Kremlin official said Saturday.
“We won’t [react]. We have no plans to participate in this process,” Sergei Ivanov, who heads the Kremlin administration, told journalists in St. Petersburg.
The International Tribunal on the Law for the Sea in Hamburg ruled on Friday that Russia must release the Arctic Sunrise icebreaker and all 30 people on board on bond of 3.6 million euro ($4.8 million).
The release is a provisional measure: The maritime court still has to rule on the legality of Russia seizing the vessel.
Russia said earlier it does not accept the court’s authority in the case because of exceptions the country made when ratifying the UN’s Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1997.
Ivanov reaffirmed Russia’s dismissal of the tribunal.
“The question will be solved on a judicial, not political plane, [and] based on Russian legislation, not someone’s political wishes,” the Kremlin official said.
Russia has earlier accused the Netherlands, which filed the lawsuit in the Hamburg court, of ignoring its complaints about the Arctic Sunrise, which sails under the Dutch flag.
The ship was seized in September after a two-month-long voyage in the Russian Arctic that culminated with Greenpeace activists trying to storm a Russian oil rig to protest against drilling for oil in the region.
The ship is currently moored in the Russian port of Murmansk, while all people on board are pending a trial on hooliganism charges, punishable with up to seven years in prison.
The “Arctic 30,” as Greenpeace dubbed them, were initially charged with piracy and spent two months in Russian pretrial detention.
But all except one crewmember were released on bail of 2 million rubles ($61,500) per person last week following a massive international campaign in their support.