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Russia, Netherlands Reach Settlement Over Seized Greenpeace Ship

The Arctic Sunrise (right) is moored next to Russian Coast Guard ship in the northern port of Murmansk in October 2013.

Russia and the Netherlands settled a multiyear dispute over the 2013 seizure of a Greenpeace ship during a protest at a Russian oil-drilling platform in the Arctic.

The settlement, announced on May 17, involves Moscow paying about 2.7 million euros ($3 million) in compensation for damages suffered by the Dutch-flagged ship, the Arctic Sunrise.

"The Russian Federation and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...have come to a full and final settlement of any and all mutual claims" arising from the incident, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a joint statement with Russia.

Greenpeace protesters had targeted an oil rig owned by the Russian state-controlled gas company Gazprom that was located in Arctic waters in September 2013. Activists, two of whom climbed the platform, said the oil rig posed a danger to the fragile Arctic ecosystem.

Russian commandos then seized the ship, and detained 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists on board.

The activists were initially accused of piracy, but that charge was later downgraded to hooliganism. They were released on bail after two months and later amnestied by the Kremlin.

Russia handed the ship back in 2014, but Greenpeace said it had suffered considerable damage after sitting in the port of Murmansk.

"Russia is paying the Netherlands, [but] we don't know exactly how it will be transferred" to Greenpeace, Bram Karst, a spokesman for Greenpeace Netherlands, was quoted as telling AFP.

"We are very happy with the result," he said.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS