Greenpeace has started to lodge applications seeking exit visas for the group of 30 activists and freelance journalists arrested during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.
The group said the 26 non-Russian nationals, including six Britons, three of whom are from Devon, have had their passports returned to them after being freed on bail by courts in St Petersburg, but do not have visas to leave Russia.
The 28 activists and two freelance journalists were initially charged with piracy after being arrested in mid-September, but the charge has been changed to hooliganism.
Jasper Teulings, general counsel at Greenpeace International, said: “This is a unique situation where the Arctic 30 were charged and then bailed inside Russia after they were detained in international waters beyond Russia’s territorial waters.
“We are hopeful this issue can be resolved. Greenpeace will continue to contest the charge of hooliganism and demand the dismissal of all charges.”
Ben Ayliffe, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace International, added: “Since their release, the Arctic 30 have had medical checks, have talked to or had visits from loved ones and are getting plenty of food, care and rest.
“Greenpeace cannot be certain whether the exit visas will be granted and we cannot promise when our friends will be able to leave Russia, but we are doing our best to get them home as soon as possible. They have already paid an absurd and excessive price for an entirely peaceful and justified protest against the dangers of Arctic oil drilling.”