Greenpeace confronts Russian LNG tanker arriving into France

On March 5, Greenpeace France activists have taken action at sea to highlight the historical responsibility of fossil fuels in triggering and financing international conflict and to call on Europe to divest from Russian oil and gas and push for investment in renewable energies. 

On board an inflatable, the activists displayed a banner reading “Fossil Fuels War” in front of a LNG tanker preparing to unload TotalEnergie’s gas in the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne in the west coast of France.

The ship, named Boris Vilkitsky, was initially on its way to the Isle of Grain in the UK, but dock workers refused to unload the cargo and was diverted to France. Greenpeace said TotalEnergies is the only oil giant that has refused to leave Russia since Putin’s invasion in Ukraine started. 

Helene Bourges, head of fossil fuel campaign for Greenpeace France, said: “How many more missiles have to destroy civilian lives before we ditch fossil fuels? Putin’s invasion is yet another example of the many conflicts fueled by oil and gas across the world. 

“After helping fill the Kremlin’s pockets and fuel its tanks, the oil giants are now racing to leave Russia in a desperate attempt to protect their image. But the damage is done and despite the sanctions, ships loaded with Putin’s gas are still docking in Europe.”

The LNG tanker, Boris Vilkitsky, departed from Sabetta port in the Russian Arctic on the 25th carrying a cargo of liquefied gas from the Yamal site, one of the largest LNG projects in the world, in which TotalEnergies holds a 20% stake. It also owns 19.4% in the Russian group Novatek, which in turn owns 50% of Yamal. Novatek’s other main shareholder is Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch sanctioned by the EU over the invasion of Ukraine.

“Europe’s gas dependence is funding Putin’s war machine and this is the true face of TotalEnergies, a self-proclaimed ‘responsible energy major’ that expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people on Tuesday and welcomes Russian gas into Europe on Saturday. Despite Emmanuel Macron’s alarming 90-minute call with Putin, the French government has not yet ordered TotalEnergies to withdraw from Russia,” said Bourges.

“We already have the technologies we need to end our dependence on gas. All we need is the political will of the EU to carry out an unprecedented program to free Europe from its gas dependence. We need an emergency plan to insulate homes, replace boilers with heat pumps and boost ever-cheaper solar and wind power. This will create jobs, lower energy bills, tackle the climate crisis and cut our dependence on imported gas,” said Bourges. 

Greenpeace calls on Europe to reject and ban any import of fossil fuels from Russia as an immediate step to weaken Putin’s war machine and save lives, and rapidly phase out all fossil fuels to protect humanity from future conflict.

Photo credit: Greenpeace

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