Arctic Sea: truth will never come out

Crew members have told Russian news reporters that they have been told not to disclose "state secrets", while well-informed Russian marine journalists have said they are now wary of commenting further on the case. And the explanations proffered by the alleged pirates have raised more questions than they answer. When quizzed on Russian state TV last week, Mr Lunev said he was working with an ecological group, who approached the Arctic Sea for help when their own inflatable ran out of petrol. But when asked what the group's name was, he answered: "I don't know. It was some private organisation."

Even the suspects' extensive tattoos - normally a reliable guide to identifying different sub-tribes of the Russian Mafia - have caused bafflement. "It is clear they are not our criminals, said Alexander Sidorov, the author of Russian Criminal Tattoos book, after examining TV footage.

"Security Police [Estonia] said that it’s possible to say on that photo and video material published in the international media, that suspects are similar with people, about whose involvement Security Police has earlier information."

Äripäev - Baltic Business News

According to the Estonian Security Police and the chief prosecutor's office the six residents of Estonia held by Russia in connection with the case include one Estonian citizen, two Russian citizens and three persons of undefined citizenship.

Foreign Minister Paet said: "It's regrettable that it took the Russian authorities so long to inform Estonia, even though the Russian minister of defense supplied information to the media already at the beginning of this week. In accordance with good practice one would inform the countries concerned about the detention of offenders before informing the public."

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