Defying orders from Russian authorities to stay out, a Greenpeace boat entered the Northern Sea Route off Russia’s coastline Saturday to stage a peaceful protest against dangerous plans on the part of oil giants Rosneft and ExxonMobil to drill near the Russian Arctic National Park.

The entry is a bold challenge to Russia’s collusion with the oil industry—also rampant in the U.S. and across the world—by banning environmental activists and monitors yet welcoming oil drilling exploration vessels with open arms.

“We refuse to let illegal attempts by the Russian government to stop us from exposing dangerous oil drilling in the Arctic,” declared Christy Ferguson, Greenpeace Arctic Campaigner aboard the ‘Arctic Sunrise’ Greenpeace ship. “The Russian Arctic National Park is a special place full of rare and threatened Arctic wildlife, and faces an infinitely greater threat from reckless oil companies than a fully equipped Greenpeace icebreaker.”

“If Rosneft and ExxonMobil bring in offshore drilling platforms they will risk catastrophic blowouts and spills that could devastate the region,” she added.

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