Huge hugs as Arctic activist returns from jail in Russia

Greenpeace campaigner Phil Ball is relieved to be back after spending time in a Russian prison. Here he gets a big hug with his children

Greenpeace campaigner Phil Ball is relieved to be back after spending time in a Russian prison. Here he gets a big hug with his children Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated
Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

FOR 100 days he was apart from his loved ones, spending Christmas Day separated from his family.

But Greenpeace activist Phil Ball has welcomed in the New Year with his nearest and dearest after being released from a Russian prison.

The 42-year-old, from Milton-under-Wychwood, was one of Greenpeace’s Arctic 30, held prisoner by the Russian authorities after trying to board a Russian oil platform to protest about drilling in the Arctic.

He spent two months in a Russian cell after being charged with piracy in September before being freed to await his court hearing, staying in a St Petersburg hotel.

After 100 days in Russia, he was finally reunited with his relieved family after being granted an amnesty from charges.

He was met by brother Steve at London’s St Pancras railway station on December 27.

He was greeted by his mother, Ruth, at Charlbury train station, before an emotional reunion at midnight with his partner and three children, two boys aged nine and seven and a daughter aged three, who Mr Ball wishes to remain unnamed.

Mr Ball, who went to The Marlborough School in Woodstock, said: “It has been an emotional time for everybody at home but it’s great to be able to get back to normal.

“The kids were reallly excited too.

“It wasn’t tearful. It was just great to be with them again and give them a big hug.”

He said he was still drained from his tough ordeal in a Russian cell, which he described as a “horrible place”.

The Arctic 30 group were detained in the Russian port of Murmansk and questioned before being transferred to a St Petersburg prison in November.

They were released on bail about 10 days later.

He said he feared the worst when he potentially faced 15 years in a Russian cell and said he could only relax once he had been given an amnesty from the charges.

But he said the support from family and friends kept him going and he is now more committed than ever to carrying on campaigning.

He said: “I am more determined than before to try and make a change. I will continue to campaign on the subject of drilling in the Arctic.

“But I won’t be climbing an oil rig in Russia again. I don’t want to go back to Russia again.”

Mr Ball, who is a freelance cameraman, said he had learnt a great deal about himself during the experience.

Brother Steve, 44, from Enstone, said: “Obviously it was a relief. We applauded the activists as they came in.

“I let him have a chat with the press and then when no one was watching I went round and we hugged. I was just really pleased he was safe.”

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:29pm Sat 4 Jan 14

mytaxes says...

Why on earth are there so many articles on this man? He is lucky that he was not locked up for much longer through nobody's fault apart from his and Greenpeace.
Why on earth are there so many articles on this man? He is lucky that he was not locked up for much longer through nobody's fault apart from his and Greenpeace. mytaxes
  • Score: -102

5:18pm Mon 6 Jan 14

the wizard says...

People like this very rarely heed the lesson at the first attempt, he is lucky he wasn't shot, lucky the Russians never threw away the key, and very lucky to be alive. Total twerp thinking he can board a rig belonging a foreign power especially one with dodgy credentials and then hopes to be seen as the shining night on his white charger, and then get away with it. Pure idiot. Common sense says you do not tangle with the Russian authorities. Perhaps he should be psychologically profiled to see if his sole brain cell is functioning properly as his behavior indicates otherwise.
People like this very rarely heed the lesson at the first attempt, he is lucky he wasn't shot, lucky the Russians never threw away the key, and very lucky to be alive. Total twerp thinking he can board a rig belonging a foreign power especially one with dodgy credentials and then hopes to be seen as the shining night on his white charger, and then get away with it. Pure idiot. Common sense says you do not tangle with the Russian authorities. Perhaps he should be psychologically profiled to see if his sole brain cell is functioning properly as his behavior indicates otherwise. the wizard
  • Score: -77

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree