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Russia Releases Greenpeace Protest Ship

A ship used by the environmental organization Greenpeace to protest against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic is on its way to the Netherlands after being held for nearly a year by Russian authorities.

The "Arctic Sunrise" left the Russian port of Murmansk on August 1, Greenpeace confirmed.

The ship has been held since it was boarded by Russian security forces in September 2013 during a protest against a Gazprom oil platform within the Arctic Circle.

The crew and journalists covering the action -- a total of 30 people, including four Russian citizens -- were originally charged with piracy.

The charge was later reduced to hooliganism and the defendants were released on bail.

All 26 foreigners have since left Russia, and the case remains under investigation.

Greenpeace expects it will take 10 days for the "Arctic Sunrise" to reach the Netherlands.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS