UPDATE 1-Russia dismisses Dutch legal action over Greenpeace activists

Sat Oct 5, 2013 11:41am EDT
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MOSCOW/LONDON Oct 5 (Reuters) - Russia shrugged off Dutch legal action over its detention and prosecution of Greenpeace activists for piracy on Saturday as protesters took to the streets internationally to call for the 30 detainees to be freed.

The Netherlands launched legal proceedings against Russia on Friday, saying it had unlawfully detained activists and others on the Dutch-registered ship last month as it protested against drilling in the Arctic.

Two Dutch citizens were among 30 people on board the Arctic Sunrise, which was seized by Russian authorities near the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told state-run news agency RIA Novosti that Russia had repeatedly asked the Netherlands to halt what Russia said was "illegal activity" by the ship.

"Unfortunately, this was not done. Therefore, we have far more questions for the Dutch side than they can have for us," RIA quoted Meshkov as saying.

"Everything that happened with the Arctic Sunrise was pure provocation."

Russian authorities have pressed piracy charges, which could result in prison sentences of 15 years.