Saint-Nazaire, France – Today, 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. 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 fuelled 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.

Last month, the European Commission presented a controversial plan to label fossil gas and nuclear energy as sustainable under the taxonomy regulation. The plan would incentivise potentially hundreds of billions of euros in private investments to flow away from clean energy like renewables and instead go to nuclear energy and fossil gas, accelerating the climate crisis and dangerously slowing down the European energy transition. 

“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 programme 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. 

The arrival of this ship comes amid growing international and civil society rejection of Russian imports. This week dockers in France,  the UK and the Netherlands refused to unload gas tankers coming from Russia. Yesterday, 20 activists from Greenpeace Germany on board six inflatables painted “No Coal” and “No War” on the side of a ship loaded with 100,000 tons of Russian hard coal as it approached the port of Hamburg.

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. 


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Sol Gosetti, Media Coordinator Fossil Free Revolution, Greenpeace Netherlands: [email protected], +54 (11) 28313271 WhatsApp +44 (0) 7380845754

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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