07.05.24 / / Press Release

European Union's Half-Measures on Russian Gas Sector Fail to Address Core Issue of Financing War in Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine; Berlin, Germany - May 7, 2024

Fresh news of coming EU sanctions on pieces of Russia's gas sector is a step in the right direction but falls short of addressing the fundamental problem. Europe's persisting purchase of Russian fossil fuels continues to fund the conflict in Ukraine, perpetuating the very crisis that these sanctions aim to address.

We are now into the third year of Putin’s full-scale invasion, and the EU imports of Russian LNG have not dropped at all. In fact, in the second year of the invasion, EU import volumes of Russian LNG remain over 30% higher than the year before the invasion. Particularly problematic are high gas import levels in Spain, France, and Belgium

Spain is the leading importer of Russian LNG among EU countries, with 5.21 billion cubic metres (bcm) imported from January to September 2023, followed by France (3.19 bcm) and Belgium (3.14 bcm). Although France reduced its imports of Russian LNG from January to September 2023, Spain and Belgium increased theirs by 50% compared to the same period in 2022. Since February 2022, Russia has earned over 193 billion EUR in revenue from fossil fuel exports from EU countries 

Svitlana Romanko, Founder and Director of Ukrainian group Razom We Stand, stated, "We've heard enough of big empty promises from hypocritical politicians. Those are the ones who speak out one side of their mouth while the other side is directing state policy to buy more fossil fuels from Russia. This effectively puts billions of Euros into Putin's war chest, which he uses to attack and bomb us every day. By importing Russian fossil fuels through their ports, Spain, France and Belgium are effectively funding the war and undermining their efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

A total embargo on Russian LNG gas should have been implemented two years ago, yet especially Spain, Belgium and France continue to profit from Russian LNG gas coming into their ports. This war is horrific, and we Ukrainians demand a complete EU embargo right now. Spain, Belgium and France must also finally show leadership by example and stop blocking efforts for the entire EU, in its coming 14th sanctions package, to place a full embargo on European purchase and transshipment of Russian fossil fuels, especially LNG gas."

In recent months, Russia has damaged more than 50% of Ukraine's energy sector, most of which will not be able to be restored. Russia continues to attack energy facilities, with another brutal attack yesterday in Sumy. There are blackouts in the eastern regions. Ukraine won't be able to rebuild power and thermal power plants for months. With Winter temperatures reaching -10 to -15 C or lower, Ukrainians are at risk of freezing to death without electricity. 

The European Union's decision to keep ports open for Russian fossil fuel imports, especially in Spain, France and Belgium, openly contradicts statements of political leaders saying they support Ukraine. Innocent Ukrainians urgently need Europe to take stronger and more decisive actions to cut off financial support for Russia's war efforts.

German Minister Robert Habeck has said Germany was no longer reliant on Russian LNG or natural gas, and urged other EU countries to follow Sweden's proposal for a full ban. He stated, “Germany no longer needs LNG from Russia, we no longer have contracts with Russia for its supply,” he continued. Razom We Stand has called for a clear German position in support of a full EU ban on Russian fossil fuels.

European leaders should prioritise sustainable and ethical energy policies that do not contribute to geopolitical tensions or human suffering. Europe needs a comprehensive strategy that includes diversifying energy sources and investing in renewable energy infrastructure.



Razom We Stand is a Ukrainian organisation active internationally, calling for a total and permanent embargo on Russian fossil fuels and an immediate end to all investment into Russian oil and gas companies by phasing out fossil fuels globally.

Razom We Stand recently sent an open letter addressed to G7 leaders, with a call to plug energy sanctions loopholes against Russia and strengthen enforcement to end the war, which was supported by more than 300 NGOs.

Svitlana Romanko was recently quoted on the White House's official website regarding LNG exports and has appeared in top-tier international press, including Der Spiegel, Le Monde, Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Washington Post, Politico, CNN, NBC, The Hill, and more.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Paraic Walker
[email protected]  
Communications Specialist 
Razom We Stand