Russia to ignore Greenpeace court hearings in Hamburg

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Media captionWatch footage of the activists trying to haul themselves on to the Gazprom oil platform last month

The Russian government has said it will not attend international court hearings in Hamburg over the detention of a Greenpeace ship by its border guards.

Russia opted out of UN Law of the Sea dispute procedures which infringe upon sovereignty in 1997, the foreign ministry pointed out in a statement.

The Netherlands took the case of the Dutch-flagged ship and its crew to the UN tribunal in Hamburg on Monday.

All 30 people on the ship have been in custody since 18 September.

They were charged with piracy after staging a protest against Arctic oil drilling at a Russian fixed gas platform.

Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and is calling for the release of the detainees, who come from 18 countries, and their ship, the Arctic Sunrise. Six Britons are among the 30 people being held in Murmansk.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea announced in a press release on Monday that the Netherlands had turned to it over the dispute. No date for the hearings was immediately set.

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