Five British Greenpeace campaigners and one Canadian, part of the so-called ‘Arctic 30′, left Russia this morning, a hundred days after they were seized by Russian forces (pictured) during a protest against Arctic oil drilling.
They were granted amnesty after being charged for hooliganism when 30 protestors approached the Prirazlomnoye oil platform owned by Russian company Gazprom. The energy giant recently confirmed it has started production at the oil rig.
Anthony Perrett, Phil Ball, Iain Rogers, Alexander Harris and Canadian Alexandre Paul, along with freelance video journalist Kieron Bryan, took off from St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport just after 11:30 local time.
Ms Harris (pictured, left), 27 from Devon said: “We’re leaving Russia, it’s over, we’re finally truly free. It feels like the moment I’ve been waiting for and my family too, but also for millions of people around the world who have worked for this and I simply cannot find the words to say how grateful and humbled I am by their support.
“People I will never meet have campaigned for our release, they wrote emails, they marched, they protested, they made a noise that became deafening, even in the Kremlin. I promise I will repay those people by using my freedom to stand up for the Arctic.”
In total, 25 of the 26 non-Russian members of the group were issued exit visas by early afternoon, with the final one expected to be given later today.