20.05.24 / / Campaign Updates

Open letter: Urgent Call for Support from Spain on Full Ban on Russian LNG in 14th Sanction Package

Kyiv, Ukraine, 20 May 2024

Read letter in Spanish


Dear President of the Government Pérez-Castejón,

We, concerned citizens, activists, and stakeholders in global security and environmental sustainability, write urgently to address the ongoing discussions regarding economic sanctions against Russia and the war in Ukraine. Specifically, we focus on the significant role that Russian LNG imports play in supporting the aggressor's war economy. We urge Spain to take a leading stance in advocating for a full ban on Russian LNG imports, including transshipment and import bans, in the upcoming 14th sanction package against Russia.

We commend the efforts of various European nations, such as Germany, Italy, and others, in supporting measures to impose sanctions on Russian LNG. In March, Spanish Vice-President and Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera called for a common approach from the European Commission to ban Russian gas, including seaborne LNG. However, Spain's proactive involvement is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of these sanctions and sending a strong message against Russian aggression.

The recent escalation of war in Ukraine, triggered by Russia's full-scale invasion, has emphasised the urgent need to sever economic ties that bolster Russian aggression. Russian attacks on Ukraine have caused considerable damage to vital infrastructure, including the energy infrastructure, 50% of which has been destroyed, which will put Ukrainians struggling to survive at severe risk next winter.

Russian LNG imports are a significant source of revenue for the Russian government, enabling it to sustain its hostile actions. Furthermore, Spain's increasing reliance on Russian LNG raises concerns about the country's vulnerability to geopolitical disruptions and economic coercion. As of May 2024, Spain has one of the most full gas storage facilities among European countries, with 82.62% of the total after winter season. The electricity production from renewable sources reached 50.8% of the overall national energy mix.

Meanwhile, between January and April 2024, Russian LNG deliveries to Spain increased by 23%, compared to the same period in 2023. This percentage underscores Spain's growing role as a critical entry hub for Russian gas into Europe. Spain was the leading importer of Russian LNG among EU countries in 2023, with 6,7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in imports. So far, Spain has more than doubled their Russian LNG imports since the full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Resulting in an increased vulnerability of the Spanish security of supply to Russian geopolitical blackmailing. The percentage of Russian LNG in the total Spanish gas imports grew from 16,1% in 2021 to 26,7% in 2023.

By withholding funding from Russia, Spain would significantly contribute to Ukraine's ability to defend itself against Russian aggression. Moreover, continued financial support to Russia not only prolongs the war but also poses long-term economic and security risks for Europe.

Despite the challenges posed by contractual obligations and legal complexities, Spain has an opportunity to lead by example in advocating for a comprehensive ban on Russian LNG imports. The recently adopted EU gas package allows for national bans on Russian LNG imports and presents a favourable regulatory framework for Spain to push for stricter measures against Russian energy imports. If EU countries do not ban LNG imports from Russia then businesses will continue to buy more and more Russian LNG. From January until the end of April 2024, the EU has increased its Russian LNG imports by 18% in volume terms compared to the same 4 month period the prior year.

Therefore, we call on Spain to:

1. Announce full support for a ban on Russian LNG imports in the 14th sanction package against Russia, including measures to prohibit transshipment and importation through third-party countries.

2. Collaborate with European partners to develop strategies for diversifying energy sources and reducing reliance on Russian LNG, focusing on investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

3. Ensure in future policy decisions that economic ties supporting Russia must be brought to a close, and that no resources inadvertently support Russia's hostile actions.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Spain will continue to “firmly support” Ukraine. We strongly urge you to back up these words with stronger actions and believe that Spain's leadership in supporting these measures will not only contribute to enhancing European peace and energy security but also send a clear signal of solidarity with Ukraine and a commitment to upholding international norms and values.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

1. Razom We Stand
2. B4Ukraine
3. Urgewald
4. Global Witness
5. Bond Beter Leefmilieu
6. International Partnership for Human Rights