Cameron: I'll talk to Putin on British arrests
David Cameron would be prepared to consider making direct contact with Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss the case of six Britons arrested for protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic, MPs have been told.
The Prime Minister said he would look in to contacting Mr Putin if it would help the plight of the Britons, three of whom are from Devon, who are among 30 activists and journalists facing charges of hooliganism, for which they could face seven years in jail.
The suspects are currently being held in Murmansk after armed Russian officials boarded Greenpeace vessel the Arctic Sunrise last month as the activists tried to protest against state-controlled energy company Gazprom's oil drilling in the Arctic's Pechora Sea.
Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Mr Cameron said Foreign Office Minister David Lidington was dealing with the case on a daily basis.
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He said: "I think this is a very serious issue and I have spoken about this in the house before, not least because one of my constituents is involved.
"I will look at every single intervention I could possibly make in order to help and if contact directly with President Putin would be helpful, then that is certainly something I would be prepared to consider."
Mr Cameron's comments came after a question from Labour MP Chris Bryant, who asked whether the Prime Minister would echo the behaviour of Angela Merkel in ringing the Russian president.
The so-called "Arctic 30" include journalist Kieron Bryan, 29, and Alexandra Harris, 27, who both grew up in Devon, as well as engineer Iain Rogers, 37, from Exeter.
The Greenpeace group and their boat were taken from waters near the port of Murmansk on September 19 after two of them tried to board Gazprom's oil rig.
Those arrested include citizens of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Sweden, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States.
Greenpeace has warned a spill in Arctic waters would be highly damaging to the environment and the extraction of more fossil fuels would add to climate change impacts.
Gazprom plans to start drilling from the Prirazlomnaya platform in the first quarter of 2014.
The families of the Britons involved have met Foreign Office officials to discuss what action was being taken to help bring their loved ones home.