Civil society appeal to EU and G7: Plug energy sanctions loopholes and strengthen enforcement to stop Russia’s war machine

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been possible due to the fossil fuel revenues that continue to line the Kremlin’s war chest, which globally have now surpassed EUR 600 billion and continue to rise, with dire consequences for Ukraine and the climate inflicted by the ruthless petrodictator state.

As the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine looms on the horizon, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) joins more than 280 European, international and Ukrainian NGOs in a joint public appeal to leaders of the EU and G7 to address both the sanctions loopholes and lack of enforcement.

The European Union and G7 must tighten their grip on Russia’s key revenue streams from exports of fossil fuels. As the tragic anniversary of two years of war hits Ukraine, there is a clear need to ban Russian LNG gas imports and close all loopholes in existing sanctions to prevent further escalation of Russia’s aggression in Europe beyond Ukraine. The EU’s and G7’s financial support for Ukraine dwindles compared to the inflow to Russia’s war chest from ongoing exports of fossil fuels. It is paramount to now fully end the financing of the Russian war machine through fossil fuel imports, which is still a sad reality.

In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, civil society groups demand the G7 and EU:

  1. Fully enforce and lower price caps on Russian crude oil and oil products.
  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.
  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.
  4. Fully ban liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia and its transshipment in European ports for exports to other countries. 
  5. Take decisive actions to reduce oil and gas consumption and end import dependency to deflate the Russian war economy.

Full letter available below.

The refining loophole has widened in the second year of the invasion, an example of how Putin profits from weak sanctions which nullify the support that the G7 and EU give to aid Ukraine. Without actions from the G7 and EU to close the loopholes in the sanctions, Russia will continue to exploit the gaps in measures to bankroll its military spending and sell its fossil fuels to Ukraine’s allies.

Isaac Levi, Europe-Russia Policy & Energy Analysis Team Lead at Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA)