Activists of Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion have blocked the gates of export harbour of Koverhar, close to Hanko in Southern Finland. The blockade prevents a freight train carrying Russian coal entering the port. Port of Hanko is one of the three Finnish ports which are used for exporting Russian coal for world markets.
Greenpeace demands the government of Finland to immediately stop the transit traffic of Russian coal and quit using the Russian fossil fuels sooner than the planned EU sanctions would come in force. The railroad network in Finland is owned and for most parts operated by the state. The Finnish state railways company VR recently said it will stop the Russian freight traffic, but this would take several months.
“The Russian fossil fuels bring money to Russia´s war machine. Fossils fuel war and worsen the climate crisis. We need to get rid of fossil fuels now, not wait for ineffective and slow sanctions”, says Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner Olli Tiainen.
The planned EU-sanctions for banning Russian coal are supposed to come into force only by August. Speaking to the Finnish parliament last Friday, the president of Ukraine, mr. Volodomyr Zelensky expressed his wish for Finns to pressure Finnish companies to give up with what remains of their Russian business.
“The Finnish government could any day decide to stop the Russian freight traffic, which is dependent on Finnish state railways and under control of the government. We can not talk about supporting Ukraine and at the same time continue making profits on the expense of Ukrainian lives – it is an utter disgrace to keep on with this business when we all know what is happening in Mariupol and all over Ukraine right now, says Greenpeace campaigner Matti Liimatainen.
The coal exported from port of Hanko comes from Novosibirsk, Siberia and is sold by Russian company Sibanthracite. Its owner, oligarkh Albert Avdolyan has through his invest company A-property several joint ventures with Russian arms manufacturer Rostec. Avdolyan has close connections to the head of Rostec, Sergey Chemezov. Both Rostec and Chemezov were added on the western sanctions list already in 2014.
The rail operator to the port of Hanko is an Estonian governmental company Operail. The two other rail routes to the ports of Kokkola and Pori are operated by Finnish state railways VR. The rail network in Finland is owned by the state.
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For more information, please contact:
Olli Tiainen, climate and energy campaigner
040 164 8606
Matti Liimatainen, campaign coordinator
0400 346 329
Juuso Janhunen, press officer