Russia has granted bail to a Greenpeace activist from New Zealand along with 8 others from different countries. The nine activists are charged with hooliganism and detained for launching a protest in September against drilling oil in the Arctic.

The news came after a Russian judge ordered Australian Greenpeace activist Colin Russell to stay locked in prison for another three months.

The Russian court has set bail for the nine activists at $2 million roubles or US$64,855 and reports were unclear whether the activists will be allowed to leave Russia after bail has been paid.

The Greenpeace activists granted bail are New Zealand's David Haussmann, Canada's Paul Ruzycki, Poland's Tomasz Dziemianczuk, France's Francesco Pisano, Italy's Cristian D'Alessandro, Finland's Sini Saarela and Argentina's Miguel Hernan Perez Orzi and Camila Speziale. They will be freed from prison once bail has been paid.

Russia has been criticised by some Western countries for detaining the Greenpeace activists. The grating of bail by the Russia courts can be viewed as a turning point in the way the case is being handled. If convicted, the activists from New Zealand, Canada, Australia and other countries may still face up to seven years in prison.

Russian courts had previously refused to grant the activists bail in past hearings. Some of the activists attempted to climb an oil platform on the Pechora Sea where the Russia offshore oil rig in the Arctic can be found.

On Nov. 18, courts granted bail to three Russians who were part of the group but the Australian activist was ordered detained until February 24, 2014.

Russian investigators wanted the Greenpeace activists from 18 countries to extend their detention to three more months. However, the Kremlin believes granting bail will ease some of the criticism against Russia.

Kiwi Greenpeace activist Mr Haussman described Russia's decision to grant bail as a common sense victory. According to his lawyer, Alexander Mukhortov, those who were released on bail may leave the country but they are required by law to make themselves available when needed.

Mr Haussman said in an interview that he will fly home to New Zealand to be reunited with his pregnant girlfriend and 3-year-old son. He said he'll be "much happier" when he returns home.