France urged to halt funding of Putin's war chest, lead EU with total ban on Russian LNG ahead of 14th sanctions package
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Today, the B4Ukraine Coalition member Razom We Stand, along with partners Stand with Ukraine France, B4Ukraine, Les Amis de la Terre, Greenpeace France, Bond Beter Leefmilieu: Leef, Women Engage for a Common Future France et WECF International, Urgewald, Globalwitness, International Partnership for Human Rights, Réseau Action Climat issued an urgent call to the French government, demanding France take assertive action in implementing a total ban on Russian LNG imports as part of the 14th sanction package against Russia. The call comes amidst the recent efforts of various European nations, including Germany, Italy, and others, to support imposing complete and transparent sanctions on Russian LNG.

In a letter addressed to President of France Emmanuel Macron, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné and Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, Razom We Stand emphasised the critical role that Russian LNG imports play in supporting the aggressor’s economy and fueling Russia’s war in Ukraine. The group urged France to lead the efforts in advocating for a comprehensive ban on Russian LNG imports, including transshipment and import bans.

Yevheniia Zasiadko, Campaign manager, Razom We Stand, highlighted the urgency of the situation, stating: “In the face of Putin’s relentless assault on Ukraine, France and the EU must take decisive action to cut off the financial lifeline fueling Russia’s war chest. Every French euro spent on Russian LNG imports is a contribution to Putin’s campaign of violence and devastation. The EU must stand firm and prioritise protecting human lives over profit margins, demonstrating unwavering solidarity with Ukraine in this critical moment of need. France 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.”

Irina Pavlova, a spokesperson of the B4Ukraine Coalition, said: “The French president’s recent statement on the need for Europe to build up its “sovereignty and strategic autonomy on energy” goes against the fact that France has increased its imports of Russian LNG in 2024. If France truly wants to lead, it’s time to walk the talk.”

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 Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) revealed France’s rapid growth in Russian LNG imports, with payments totaling 600 million euros in the first three months of 2024 alone. France has emerged as the fastest-growing consumer of Russian LNG in the EU, with a total of 1.5 million tonnes in 2024, surpassing all other EU countries in LNG imports from Russia during this period.

France is undermining any attempts to help Ukraine by maintaining cooperation with Russia and compensating them for LNG. By withholding funding from Russia, France 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.

Razom We Stand called on France to announce full support for a ban on Russian LNG imports in the 14th sanction package against Russia, collaborate with European partners to develop strategies for reducing reliance on Russian energy resources and address legal and contractual barriers to diversifying energy sources.

The group emphasised the need for France to leverage the regulatory framework provided by the EU Parliament’s approval of rules allowing national bans on Russian LNG imports to advocate for stricter enforcement mechanisms and penalties for entities involved in circumventing import bans through transshipment.

Razom We Stand urged France to demonstrate its commitment to upholding international norms and values by supporting measures that would curb Russia’s aggression and ensure European energy security.

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