Greenpeace Aotearoa is throwing its support behind a peace flotilla planned to converge on Russian oligarch Alexander Abramov’s luxury coastal retreat in Helena Bay, Northland later this week.

On Saturday, Greenpeace called on the Government to immediately freeze the New Zealand assets of Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin, until the Russian President ends his war against Ukraine. Over 6,000 people have signed the petition to support that call over the last 24 hours.

Greenpeace Aotearoa programme director, Niamh O’Flynn says “The world has watched in horror as Vladimir Putin’s military war on Ukraine threatens millions of lives and an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The international community has scrambled to apply pressure on Vladimir Putin to end the invasion and here we have the luxury lodge of a Russian oligarch, right in our backyard.”

“We applaud the Government’s announcement yesterday of the The Russia Sanctions Bill, but if they are serious about using sanctions to pressure Putin, then they must go for the big fish quickly. That means freezing Alexander Abramov’s assets, as New Zealand’s richest Russian investor.”

“Aotearoa has a long and proud history of standing up for peace. We pushed back against the might of the nuclear powers and declared ourselves a nuclear free zone. Now is a time when we must stand up again.

“To end a violent invasion without further violence, we need to be creative about affecting change. If you don’t want to add more bombs to the situation, then you need to pressure the money and power behind it, and that’s what we aim to do with sanctions on Alexander Abramov’s Helena Bay estate,” she says.

Greenpeace Aotearoa programme director Niamh O’Flynn will sail aboard the veteran protest yacht SV Vega, and join SV Windbourne skippered by Avon Hansford, who also sailed to protest oil exploration in New Zealand waters. Other yachts are expected to join.

Vega has a long history of peaceful protest and a close connection with Greenpeace having been involved in nuclear free Pacific protest voyages to Moruroa and more recently in Aotearoa with flotillas to stop deep sea oil.

The flotilla will set sail from Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour on Thursday, to convene in Whangaruru Harbour, and sail into Helena Bay together to take a stand against the war.

Abramov is a steel magnate, and the 24th richest man in Russia. His superyacht has recently sailed to the Maldives, apparently to avoid sanctions. 

“Greenpeace Aotearoa stands in solidarity with the organisations and activists taking to the streets around the world to peacefully demand an end to this disastrous war, especially those in Russia, who are risking their safety and freedom to do so,” says O’Flynn.

The Peace Flotilla is posting updates and calling for support via a Facebook group here:


PETITION: Freeze russian oligarch assets in Aotearoa

In the name of peace, call on the New Zealand Government to freeze the assets of Russian billionaire oligarchs to pressure Vladimir Putin to call off the Russian Military invasion of Ukraine.

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