Arrests taught Greenpeace 'a little lesson,' Russian ambassador says

Greenpeace activist Paul Ruzycki of Canada, one of the 30 people who were arrested over a...

Greenpeace activist Paul Ruzycki of Canada, one of the 30 people who were arrested over a Greenpeace protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, is pictured as he is released on bail from prison in St. Petersburg in this November 22, 2013 handout photo by Greenpeace. REUTERS/Vladimir Baryshev/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:08 PM ET

Russia's ambassador to Canada said Canadian businesses and law enforcement appreciate his country's crackdown on Greenpeace activists who now face prison time for an offshore oil protest in the Arctic.

"In my discussions, both with your businesses, which have some relevance to what's happening in the Arctic, and with your law enforcement, I sometimes receive a very interesting message — do your best to imprint on the minds of these people that they shouldn't fool with the life of those who work," Georgiy Mamedov told QMI Agency.

"Of course, in public we hear quite different, that it's the Russians, they always overreact. But believe me, there are reasons for such strict enforcement of security rules for things that are happening there."

Two Canadians were among 30 Greenpeace activists detained in Russia after protesting oil-drilling operations in the Pechora Sea, off Russia's northwestern coast.

Originally arrested for piracy, their charges have since been downgraded to hooliganism. They face up to seven years in Russian prison.

"I don't want to influence what courts will decide, but I think it will all end to everybody's satisfaction," Mamedov said Friday.

"But there will be a little lesson. And already, we have pronouncements from Greenpeace that they will think twice about sending ships to this particular (area) of dangerous waters again. And believe me, not just Russian businesses — but businesses from many countries including Canada, are appreciative of our concerns."

Paul Ruzycki, 48, of Port Colborne, Ont., and Alexandre Paul, 36, of Montreal are out on bail, but remain in Russia.

— With files from Jessica Murphy