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Greenpeace warns against oil spills in Arctic

Greenpeace protesters have ended their action on a Russian oil platform in the Pechora Sea. They had prepared for a lenthy stay, but they were chased off by the crew of Prirazlomnaja platform using water hoses and metal sticks, Greenpeace Director Kumi Naidoo said. He took part in the action.

The aim of the environmental group's protest was to expose Russian oil exploration in the Arctic. An oil spill here could have disastrous effects, according to Greenpeace and the WWF.

The platform is owned by a subsidiary of Gazprom. The oil workers on the rig initially responded amicably to the protesters, who strung up a banner reading "Save the Arctic" in Russian. The Greenpeace activists were offered hot soup. Later, however, they were chased off the platform with ice-cold water jets and iron bars.

Greenpeace Director Naidoo told reporters by phone before they were forced off the rig, "We're not using any violence and we will continue to put the alert the Russian people and people all over the world  to what is happening here. It is bad for Russia, and it is bad for the planet."

The Gazprom subsidiary erected the oil rig last year and is preparing for the first drilling. The nearest port, Murmansk, is about 1,000 kilometres away. A report published last week by Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund cliams that protected zones and reservations on shore and on islands could become polluted within twenty hours after an oil spill. Pollution-fighting teams could take at least three days to reach the remote rig. - (IEDE)

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