21.02.24 / / Campaign Updates

Civil society appeal to EU and G7: Plug energy sanctions loopholes and strengthen enforcement to end the war

Open letter to G7 and European Union leaders

Sign the Letter

21 February 2024

Open letter to:

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic of France

Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy

Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Joe Biden, President of the United States of America

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament


Civil society appeal to EU and G7: Plug energy sanctions loopholes and strengthen enforcement to end the war

Dear G7 and European Union leaders,

The European Union and G7 should tighten their grip on Russia’s key revenue streams from exports of fossil fuels, ban Russian LNG gas imports and close all loopholes in existing sanctions. It is good that Europe supports Ukraine financially and militarily. But it is just as important to fully end the financing of the Russian war machine through fossil fuel imports, which is still a reality, say more than 300 European, international and Ukrainian NGOs in a public appeal to leaders.

Sanctioning countries have significantly reduced their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, but more must be done to stop purchasing fuels that finance the Kremlin’s war chest. Through measures such as the EU oil import ban and G7 price cap, Russia's export earnings from oil have been cut by 14%, costing them EUR 34 billion. However, the oil price cap's impact is far short of what could have been achieved with greater monitoring and enforcement of the policy, paired with a lower price level. Two years on, the EU and G7 have purchased EUR 202 bln of fossil fuels from Russia since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s war as an onslaught on international rules-based order, democracy and human rights. We welcome the recent decision by the European Council to support Ukraine with EUR 50 billion in aid. However, the EU’s recent aid commitment represents 27% of their total fossil fuel imports purchased from Russia since the beginning of their full-scale invasion, estimated at over EUR 185 billion. More needs to be done to support our allies and wean the EU off of the Russian fossil fuel exports that fund the war, including a complete phase-out of Russian pipeline gas.

The EU has introduced 12 consecutive sanctions packages on the Russian economy, designed to deprive the aggressor of access to finance, insurance, advanced technologies, and engineering services and to limit its export earnings. The EU and G7 have also adopted a globally applicable price cap on Russian oil in December 2022. Yet, insufficient enforcement and the lack of comprehensive sanctions against Russia’s fossil fuel exports are downgrading the efficiency of the sanctions regime and undermining the overall efforts to deprive Russia of economic means for waging war.

Russia’s 2024 federal budget increases to the military-industrial complex doubled compared to 2022, unprecedented military spending since Soviet times. The major shift sends a third of all governmental funding to the army, threatening regional stability and the future of democracy and security in Europe. Meanwhile, Russia expects to replenish its budget with 11.5 trillion rubles (USD 127 billion) from oil and gas sector revenues. Russia can spend so lavishly on its military mainly because of its oil and gas revenues.

The EU and G7 countries contribute to this expanding war chest by inadequately enforcing sanctions against Russian oil and gas and leaving loopholes wide open that Russia exploits daily.

In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the groups demand the G7 and EU take the following actions:

1. Fully enforce and lower price caps on Russian crude oil and oil products and introduce transparent and verifiable compliance mechanisms for oil traders and shippers, especially those who operate European-owned and P&I (Protection & Indemnity) insured tankers that export Russian oil. The price cap on Russian crude oil should be set much closer to its production cost (averaging USD 15 per barrel), at USD 30 per barrel, which would have slashed Russia’s revenue by EUR 37 bn (25%).

2. Prevent Russia from further expanding the shadow fleet of dangerous, practically uninsured and unaccountable old tankers, operating through illegal and dubious management arrangements and lacking transparency in ownership. This is necessary not only to reduce Russia’s ability to finance the war of aggression with oil money but also to prevent looming environmental catastrophes from possible major oil spills. The EU and G7 should introduce a spill insurance verification programme for vessels that travel through their waters. This could exclude ‘shadow’ tankers without spill insurance from travelling through their most travelled route from Baltic ports whilst reducing the risk of environmental catastrophe. If this policy banned many ‘shadow’ tankers from transporting oil from the Baltic and Black Sea ports, it could increase Russia’s reliance on legally insured vessels and enhance the leverage of the oil price cap policy.

3. Close the “refining loophole”, which allows EU and G7 countries to import oil products — mainly diesel, jet fuel and gasoline — produced from Russian oil at refineries in third countries like India, Turkey or UAE. The “refining loophole” legally allows Russian oil to be processed and flow into the EU and G7 countries, preserving Russian export volumes and earnings.

4. Fully ban liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia and its transhipment in European ports for exports to other countries. In 2022-2023, the exports of Russian LNG to global markets were expanding, while the opposite is required to cut the Kremlin’s budgetary income that funds the war of aggression and avoid the severe climate impacts of uncontrolled and unaccounted methane emissions in the Russian LNG supply chain. The EU should keep true to the commitments under the REpowerEU plan and also fully ban Russian pipeline gas imports.

5. Take decisive actions to reduce oil and gas consumption and end import dependency to deflate the Russian war economy. Such actions include requiring company car fleets in Europe to shift to all-electric vehicles, which would help minimise petroleum demand and oil prices. Further efforts can consist of banning the installation of gas-fired boilers in new or retrofitted buildings, facilitating the accelerated market roll-out of heat pumps, prohibiting the production of single-use plastics, adopting and implementing ambitious energy efficiency improvement plans and streamlining permitting and providing governmental support for the construction of renewable energy projects. Follow-up on implementation of widely announced decarbonisation commitments is also essential.

We underscore that tightening sanctions against Russian oil and gas exports isn't just about ending a war - it's about dismantling the foundation that enables autocracy to thrive. It's a global imperative to foster energy independence, peace, climate action and democratic resilience. We also must swiftly welcome Ukraine into the European Union.


1.    Transport & Environment                        Belgium, EU

2.    NGO Center for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction”        Ukraine

3.    Razom We Stand                            Ukraine

4.    Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA)        United Kingdom

5.    Deutsche Umwelthilfe                            Germany

6.    Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO)                Belgium

7.    Green Transition Denmark                         Denmark

8.    Bond Beter Leefmilieu                        Belgium

9.    Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center                 Ukraine

10.    Danube-Carpathian Programme    Ukraine,             Ukraine

11.    Climate Action for Lifelong Learners (CALL)                Canada

12.    For a Better Bayou                            USA

13.    2Celsius                                Romania

14.    VšĮ Žiedinė ekonomika                        Lithuania

15.    EKOenergy ecolabel                            Finland

16.    Net Impact The Gambia                        Gambia

17.    Oil and Gas Action Network                        USA

18.    Wall of Women                            USA

19.    Institute of legislative ideas                        Ukraine

20.    Egyptian Green Party                            Egypt

21.    Earth Action, Inc.                            USA

22.    Disability Peoples Forum Uganda                    Uganda

23.    International Partnership for Human Rights                 Belgium

24.    Public Eye                                Switzerland

25.    Clean Air Action Group                        Hungary

26.    Expert Forum (EFOR)                            Romania

27.    ICO "Environment - People - Law"                    Ukraine

28.    NGO "Technology of Progress"                    Ukraine

29.    NGO "Open Data Association"                    Ukraine

30.    Milieudefensie | Friends of the Earth NL                Netherlands

31.    NGO Ecoclub     Rivne                            Ukraine

32.    Transform Scotland                            Scotland

33.    Uplift                                    United Kingdom

34.    NGO Sustainable Development Agency SYNERGY         Ukraine

35.    NGO Social Initiative "City of the Sun"                Ukraine

36.    Black Sea Women's Club                        Ukraine

37.    NGO Environmental Club Eremurus                    Ukraine

38.    Anti-corruption Headquarters                     Ukraine

39.    NGO Ekoltava                             Ukraine

40.    Institute for Social and Economic Transformation            Ukraine

41.    Planet Botanical Garden                        Ukraine

42.    Plato NGO                                Ukraine

43.    Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group                Ukraine

44.    Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre            Ukraine

45.    Andy Gheorghiu Consulting                        Germany

46.    Clean Cities Campaign Poland                    Poland

47.    Nordic Ukraine Forum                            Sweden

48.    EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy                Czech Republic

49.    Formando Rutas                            Germany

50.    FPPE                                    Poland

51.    Center for the Study of Democracy                    Bulgaria

52.    Association “Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine”            Ukraine

53.    Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) e.V.                Germany

54.    Rainforest Action Network                        USA

55.    Uppsala University                             Sweden

56.    Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting        Ukraine

57.    Eco Bucha                                Ukraine

58.    Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.                        Germany

59.    CEE Bankwatch Network                        Romania

60.    Instytut Spraw Obywatelskich                        Poland

61.    Center for international cooperation and project implementation    Ukraine

62.    350.org                                France

63.    Kyiv Municipal League of Public Organizations of People with Disabilities    Ukraine

64.    National Ecological Center of Ukraine                Ukraine

65.    Center for International Environmental Law                France

66.    Ecosense, NGO                            Ukraine

67.    U-Cycle ( NGO Kyiv Cyclists' Association)                Ukraine

68.    Earth Action, Inc.                            USA

69.    Aid Organization                            Bangladesh

70.    Net Impact The Gambia                        Gambia

71.    Agency for sustainable development of the Carpathian region "FORZA"    Ukraine

72.    Women Engage for a Common Future - WECF            Netherlands

73.    Africa Bureau For Climate stories-ABOS                 Kenya

74.   TRAFFED-RDC AMIS D'AROCHA                    DRC

75.    Asociación Con Ucrania                         Spain

76.    Climate Action Campaign, Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship    USA

77.     Adarsha Samajik Progoti Sangstha                     Bangladesh

78.     Green 13                                Canada

79.     Associazione Cristiana degli Ucraini in Italia                 Italy

80.     Rozviy, Youth Climate Initiative                    Ukraine

81.     Minerva Ventures                            USA

82.     NGO "Green World"                             Ukraine

83.     UWEC Work Group                            Georgia

84.     Gower Street                                United Kingdom

85.     GDU Project Helmholtz Center Berlin                Germany

86.     VCS Verkehrs-Club der Schweiz                    Switzerland

87.     NGO Plato                                Ukraine

88.     Chaloupky o.p.s.                            Czech Republic

89.     Just Finance International                         Europe

90.     Promote Ukraine                            Belgium

91.     Bellona Europa                            Belgium

92.     Estonian Green Movement                        Estonia

93.     Social Justice Committee, St. Andrew's United Church of Canada, Halifax         Canada

94.     Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet (GASP)            Canada

95.     The Secretariat of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum      Belgium

96.     198 methods                                USA

97.     Global Witness                            United Kingdom

98.     Atlantic Energy                             United Kingdom

99.     Zero Waste Society                            Ireland

100.   Canopea                                Belgium

101.   Limity jsme my                            Czech republic

102.   Earthsight                                United Kingdom

103.    Businesses for a Livable Climate                    USA

104.    Call to Action Colorado                        USA

105.    CatholicNetwork US                            USA

106.    Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate                USA

107.    Community for Sustainable Energy                    USA

110.    Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance                USA

111.    Green House Connection Center                    USA

112.    Indivisible Ambassadors                        USA

113.    Interstate 70 Citizens Advisory Group                USA

114.    Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, & Environment            USA

115.    Littleton Business Alliance                        USA

116.    Mayfair Park Neighborhood Association                USA

117.    Mental Health & Inclusion Ministries                    USA

118.    Mind's Eye Productions                        USA

119.    Montbello Neighborhood Improvement Association            USA

120.    North Range Concerned Citizens                    USA

121.    Our Sacred Earth                            USA

122.    RapidShift Network                            USA

123.    Save the Environmental Protection Agency                USA

124.    Small Business Alliance                        USA

125.    Southwest Organization for Sustainability                USA

126.    Spirit of the Sun                            USA

127.    System Change Not Climate Change                USA

128.    Texas Campaign for the Environment                USA

129.    Unite North Metro Denver                        USA

130.    Wall of Women                            USA

131.    Western Slope Businesses for a Livable Climate            USA

132.    Womxn from the Mountain                        USA

133.    Working for Racial Equity                        USA

134.    Climate Risk Horizons                        India

135.    ZERO – Association for the Earth System Sustainability        Portugal

136.    Association of Ethical Shareholders                     Germany

137.    Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC)        Ukraine

138.    NGO "Unique Planet"                            Ukraine

139.    NGO Green Liberty                            Ukraine

140.    NGO SaveDnipro                            Ukraine

141.    NGO “Office for the Environment”                    Ukraine

142.    NGO "Green Generation"                        Ukraine

143.    Economic Expert Platform                       Ukraine

144.    Civil Network OPORA                             Ukraine

145.    WWF-Ukraine                                          Ukraine

146.    Centre for Liberal Modernity (LibMod)    Germany

147.    Greenpeace CEE                                    Ukraine

148.    Vitsche e.V.                                              Germany

149.    Fridays For Future Ukraine                      Ukraine

150-239. Business for Ukraine Coalition, on behalf of 89 international and Ukrainian members.

240-250. Energy Transition Coalition, uniting 10 Ukrainian organizations.

251-300+. RISE Ukraine Coalition, uniting more than 50 organizations.