MOSCOW, December 27 (RAPSI) – All 30 of the Greenpeace activists detained in September over a protest staged at a Russian drilling rig in the Arctic will leave Russia before the new year, attorney Aleksandr Melnikov told RAPSI on Friday.

“Six British activists have already left Russia, with one ready to go. Activist Dmitry Litvinov who holds US and Swedish citizenships is already abroad too. Before New Year, as far as I know, all activists will leave for home,” the attorney said.

The Arctic Sunrise ship was seized by Russian border guards on September 19 in international waters, within Russia's exclusive economic zone, a day after Greenpeace activists scaled the Prirazlomnaya drilling rig in the Pechora Sea, the southeastern part of the Barents Sea. 30 people were on board the vessel. All of them were detained and charged with piracy. Later the [piracy charges were replaced with hooliganism charges. In November all those who had been detained were released on bail.

The platform, owned by Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, is the first ice-resistant stationary oil platform in the world set to produce offshore Arctic oil.

Greenpeace lawyer Mikhail Kreindlin told RIA Novosti that the vessel itself should be released once all criminal cases have been closed. He added, however, that the vessel will likely to remain under Russian custody until the end of the holiday season, which in Russia will continue through January 8, 2014.