20.05.24 / / Press Release

Spain Urged to Halt Funding of Putin's War Chest, Lead EU with Total Ban on Russian LNG Ahead of 14th Sanctions Package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kyiv, Ukraine, 20 May 2024

Razom We Stand, a leading Ukrainian climate group, along with partners B4Ukraine, Urgewald, Global Witness, Bond Beter Leefmilieu: Leef, International Partnership for Human Rights has sent an urgent letter to the Spanish government calling for decisive action to halt funding to Putin's war chest by advocating for a complete ban on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports in the upcoming 14th EU sanction package against Russia.

In a letter addressed to the Spanish government, Razom We Stand emphasises the critical role of Russian LNG imports in sustaining the aggressor's economy and supporting its hostile actions in Ukraine. It urges Spain to take a leading stance in advocating for stringent measures, including bans on transshipment and importation through third-party countries.

Yevheniia Zasiadko, Campaign Manager, Razom We Stand, said, "In the face of Putin's relentless assault on Ukraine, Spain and the EU must take decisive action to cut off the financial lifeline fueling Russia's war chest. Every Spanish euro spent on Russian LNG imports is a contribution to Putin's campaign of violence and devastation. Spain and the EU must stand firm and prioritise protecting human lives over profit margins, demonstrating unwavering solidarity with Ukraine in this critical moment of need. Spain has a unique opportunity to make a significant impact by supporting a comprehensive ban on Russian LNG imports. This strong step would send a powerful message to the Russian government that its aggression will not be tolerated."

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.

Recent data from the IEEFA highlights Spain's increasing significance as a crucial entry hub for Russian gas into Europe. LNG shipments constitute a significant portion of Spain's total gas imports, with the Bilbao terminal ranking among the top 3 highest receivers of Russia’s Yamal LNG in the EU in 2023

Spain is the top importer of Russian LNG among EU countries, with imports totaling 5.21 billion cubic meters (bcm) from January to September 2023. Spain increased its imports of Russian LNG by 50% compared to the same period in 2022.

Spain has a unique opportunity to lead by example and advocate for sustainable energy practices. Last year Spain electricity production from renewable sources reached nearly 135,000 GWh last year, equivalent to 50.8% of the overall national energy mix. The recent approval by the EU Parliament allowing national bans on Russian LNG imports provides a favourable regulatory framework for Spain to leverage in pushing for stricter measures against Russian energy imports and leaves no room for excuses. 

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

Razom We Stand calls on Spain to announce full support for a ban on Russian LNG imports, collaborate with European partners to diversify energy sources, and address legal and contractual barriers to energy diversification. The organisation emphasises the importance of Spain's commitment to upholding international norms and values in the face of Russian aggression.

Quotes:

“In the first four months of 2024, the EU increased their imports of Russian LNG by 18% compared to the same period last year. If the bloc is to succeed in their RePower EU plan to end reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027 they must start reducing their imports of Russian LNG immediately. Measures must be introduced urgently to prevent EU companies from continuing to buy non-sanctioned LNG from Russia” Isaac Levi, Europe-Russia Policy & Energy Analysis Team Lead, Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

“As long as Russia is able to generate revenues to replenish its war chest, including through the export of fossil fuels such as LNG, there will be no end to the country's ratcheting militarisation and the threat that this poses not only to Ukraine but to global security in general.” Simon Papuashvili, Programme Director, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)

“The only way to stop Russia’s continued and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is to defund its war effort by closing the existing sanctions loopholes. The free flow of Russian LNG to the EU through Spanish ports is one of them. If the collective West is serious about defunding Russia’s war in 2024, the time for action is now. A full ban on Russian LNG is a good starting point.” Irina Pavlova, Spokesperson, B4Ukraine 

“Russia is dependent on access to EU ports and waters to export its LNG from the Arctic, because for large parts of the year this is only possible with special icebreaker tankers. The EU should use its leverage and ban the import of Russian liquefied gas immediately. These tankers would then have to accept significantly longer routes to the nearest LNG port. The immediate consequences would be higher transport costs, significantly lower export volumes and therefore less revenue for Russia's war of aggression.” Sebastian Rötters, energy campaigner, Urgewald

ENDS

NOTES:

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.

Founder and Director of Razom We Stand, Svitlana Romanko, 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