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  • Civil society appeal to EU and G7: Plug energy sanctions loopholes and strengthen enforcement to end the war


    21 February 2024

    Open letter to:


    Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

    Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic of France

    Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

    Giorgia Meloni, Prime Minister of Italy

    Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan

    Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

    Joe Biden, President of the United States of America

    Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

    Charles Michel, President of the European Council

    Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament


    Dear G7 and European Union leaders,

    Civil society appeal to EU and G7: Plug energy sanctions loopholes and strengthen enforcement to end the war


    The European Union and G7 should tighten their grip on Russia’s key revenue streams from exports of fossil fuels, ban Russian LNG gas imports and close all loopholes in existing sanctions. It is good that Europe supports Ukraine financially and militarily. But it is just as important to fully end the financing of the Russian war machine through fossil fuel imports, which is still a reality, say more than 280 European, international and Ukrainian NGOs in a public appeal to leaders.


    Sanctioning countries have significantly reduced their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, but more must be done to stop purchasing fuels that finance the Kremlin’s war chest. Through measures such as the EU oil import ban and G7 price cap, Russia's export earnings from oil have been cut by 14%, costing them EUR 34 billion. However, the oil price cap's impact is far short of what could have been achieved with greater monitoring and enforcement of the policy, paired with a lower price level. Two years on, the EU and G7 have purchased EUR 202 bln of fossil fuels from Russia since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

    Over the past two years, the EU has shown a steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine in the common struggle against the aggressor, recognising Russia’s war as an onslaught on international rules-based order, democracy and human rights. We welcome the recent decision by the European Council to support Ukraine with EUR 50 billion in aid. However, the EU’s recent aid commitment represents 27% of their total fossil fuel imports purchased from Russia since the beginning of their full-scale invasion, estimated at over EUR 185 billion. More needs to be done to support our allies and wean the EU off of the Russian fossil fuel exports that fund the war, including a complete phase-out of Russian pipeline gas.


    The EU has introduced 12 consecutive sanctions packages on the Russian economy, designed to deprive the aggressor of access to finance, insurance, advanced technologies, and engineering services and to limit its export earnings. The EU and G7 have also adopted a globally applicable price cap on Russian oil in December 2022. Yet, insufficient enforcement and the lack of comprehensive sanctions against Russia’s fossil fuel exports are downgrading the efficiency of the sanctions regime and undermining the overall efforts to deprive Russia of economic means for waging war.


    Russia’s 2024 federal budget increases to the military-industrial complex doubled compared to 2022, unprecedented military spending since Soviet times. The major shift sends a third of all governmental funding to the army, threatening regional stability and the future of democracy and security in Europe. Meanwhile, Russia expects to replenish its budget with 11.5 trillion rubles (USD 127 billion) from oil and gas sector revenues. Russia can spend so lavishly on its military mainly because of its oil and gas revenues.


    The EU and G7 countries contribute to this expanding war chest by inadequately enforcing sanctions against Russian oil and gas and leaving loopholes wide open that Russia exploits daily.


    In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the groups demand the G7 and EU take the following actions:


    1. Fully enforce and lower price caps on Russian crude oil and oil products and introduce transparent and verifiable compliance mechanisms for oil traders and shippers, especially those who operate European-owned and P&I (Protection & Indemnity) insured tankers that export Russian oil. The price cap on Russian crude oil should be set much closer to its production cost (averaging USD 15 per barrel), at USD 30 per barrel, which would have slashed Russia’s revenue by EUR 37 bn (25%). 


    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. This is necessary not only to reduce Russia’s ability to finance the war of aggression with oil money but also to prevent looming environmental catastrophes from possible major oil spills. The EU and G7 should introduce a spill insurance verification programme for vessels that travel through their waters. This could exclude ‘shadow’ tankers without spill insurance from travelling through their most travelled route from Baltic ports whilst reducing the risk of environmental catastrophe. If this policy banned many ‘shadow’ tankers from transporting oil from the Baltic and Black Sea ports, it could increase Russia’s reliance on legally insured vessels and enhance the leverage of the oil price cap policy.


    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. The “refining loophole” legally allows Russian oil to be processed and flow into the EU and G7 countries, preserving Russian export volumes and earnings.


    4. Fully ban liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia and its transhipment in European ports for exports to other countries. In 2022-2023, the exports of Russian LNG to global markets were expanding, while the opposite is required to cut the Kremlin’s budgetary income that funds the war of aggression and avoid the severe climate impacts of uncontrolled and unaccounted methane emissions in the Russian LNG supply chain. The EU should keep true to the commitments under the REpowerEU plan and also fully ban Russian pipeline gas imports.


    5. Take decisive actions to reduce oil and gas consumption and end import dependency to deflate the Russian war economy. Such actions include requiring company car fleets in Europe to shift to all-electric vehicles, which would help minimise petroleum demand and oil prices. Further efforts can consist of banning the installation of gas-fired boilers in new or retrofitted buildings, facilitating the accelerated market roll-out of heat pumps, prohibiting the production of single-use plastics, adopting and implementing ambitious energy efficiency improvement plans and streamlining permitting and providing governmental support for the construction of renewable energy projects. Follow-up on implementation of widely announced decarbonisation commitments is also essential.


    We underscore that tightening sanctions against Russian oil and gas exports isn't just about ending a war - it's about dismantling the foundation that enables autocracy to thrive. It's a global imperative to foster energy independence, peace, climate action and democratic resilience. We also must swiftly welcome Ukraine into the European Union.




    1.          Transport & Environment                                                                  Belgium, EU
    2.          NGO Center for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction”                    Ukraine
    3.          Razom We Stand                                                                              Ukraine
    4.          Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA)                   Finland
    5.          Deutsche Umwelthilfe                                                                                   Germany
    6.          Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO)                                         Belgium
    7.          Green Transition Denmark                                                               Denmark
    8.          Bond Beter Leefmilieu                                                                       Belgium
    9.          Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center                                                Ukraine
    10.        Danube-Carpathian Programme       Ukraine,                                  Ukraine
    11.        Climate Action for Lifelong Learners (CALL)                                               Canada
    12.        For a Better Bayou                                                                            USA
    13.        2Celsius                                                                                            Romania
    14.        VšĮ Žiedinė ekonomika                                                                     Lithuania
    15.        EKOenergy ecolabel                                                                         Finland
    16.        Net Impact The Gambia                                                                    Gambia
    17.        Oil and Gas Action Network                                                             USA
    18.        Wall of Women                                                                                  USA 
    19.        Institute of legislative ideas                                                               Ukraine
    20.        Egyptian Green Party                                                                       Egypt
    21.        Earth Action, Inc.                                                                              USA
    22.        Disability Peoples Forum Uganda                                                    Uganda
    23.        International Partnership for Human Rights                                     Belgium
    24.        Public Eye                                                                                         Switzerland
    25.        Clean Air Action Group                                                                     Hungary
    26.        Expert Forum (EFOR)                                                                                  Romania
    27.        ICO "Environment - People - Law"                                                   Ukraine
    28.        NGO "Technology of Progress"                                                       Ukraine
    29.        NGO "Open Data Association"                                                         Ukraine
    30.        Milieudefensie | Friends of the Earth NL                                          Netherlands
    31.        NGO Ecoclub Rivne                                                                         Ukraine
    32.        Transform Scotland                                                                          Scotland
    33.        Uplift                                                                                                  United Kingdom
    34.        NGO Sustainable Development Agency SYNERGY                       Ukraine
    35.        NGO Social Initiative "City of the Sun"                                             Ukraine
    36.        Black Sea Women's Club                                                                 Ukraine
    37.        NGO Environmental Club Eremurus                                                Ukraine
    38.        Anti-corruption Headquarters                                                           Ukraine
    39.        NGO Ekoltava                                                                                   Ukraine
    40.        Institute for Social and Economic Transformation                            Ukraine
    41.        Planet Botanical Garden                                                                   Ukraine
    42.        Plato NGO                                                                                        Ukraine
    43.        Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group                                             Ukraine
    44.        Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre                             Ukraine
    45.        Andy Gheorghiu Consulting                                                              Germany
    46.        Clean Cities Campaign Poland                                                         Poland
    47.        Nordic Ukraine Forum                                                                                  Sweden
    48.        EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy                                      Czech Republic
    49.        Formando Rutas                                                                               Germany
    50.        FPPE                                                                                                 Poland
    51.        Center for the Study of Democracy                                                  Bulgaria
    52.        Association “Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine”                              Ukraine
    53.        Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) e.V.                                    Germany
    54.        Rainforest Action Network                                                                USA
    55.        Uppsala University                                                                            Sweden
    56.        Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting                  Ukraine
    57.        Eco Bucha                                                                                         Ukraine
    58.        Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.                                                               Germany
    59.        CEE Bankwatch Network                                                                 Romania
    60.        Instytut Spraw Obywatelskich                                                                      Poland
    61.        Center for international cooperation and project implementation     Ukraine
    62.                                                                                              France
    63.        Kyiv Municipal League of Public Organizations of People with DisabilitiesUkraine
    64.        National Ecological Center of Ukraine                                             Ukraine
    65.        Center for International Environmental Law                                     France
    66.        Ecosense, NGO                                                                               Ukraine
    67.        U-Cycle ( NGO Kyiv Cyclists' Association)                                      Ukraine
    68.        Earth Action, Inc.                                                                              USA
    69.        Aid Organization                                                                                Bangladesh
    70.        Net Impact The Gambia                                                                    Gambia
    71.        Agency for sustainable development of the Carpathian region "FORZA"   Ukraine
    72.        Women Engage for a Common Future - WECF                              Netherlands
    73.        Africa Bureau For Climate stories-ABOS                                         Kenya
    74.        TRAFFED-RDC AMIS D'AROCHA                                                  DRC
    75.        Asociación Con Ucrania                                                                   Spain
    76.        Climate Action Campaign, Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship     USA
    77.        Adarsha Samajik Progoti Sangstha                                                  Bangladesh
    78.        Green 13                                                                                           Canada
    79.        Associazione Cristiana degli Ucraini in Italia                                               Italy
    80.        Rozviy, Youth Climate Initiative                                                        Ukraine
    81.        Minerva Ventures                                                                              USA
    82.        NGO "Green World"                                                                          Ukraine
    83.        UWEC Work Group                                                                          Georgia
    84.        Gower Street                                                                                     United Kingdom
    85.        GDU Project Helmholtz Center Berlin                                              Germany
    86.        VCS Verkehrs-Club der Schweiz                                                     Switzerland
    87.        NGO Plato                                                                                         Ukraine
    88.        Chaloupky o.p.s.                                                                               Czech Republic
    89.        Just Finance International                                                                Europe
    90.        Promote Ukraine                                                                               Belgium
    91.        Bellona Europa                                                                                 Belgium
    92.        Estonian Green Movement                                                               Estonia
    93.        Social Justice Committee, St. Andrew's United Church of Canada, Halifax. Canada
    94.        Grandmothers Act to Save the Planet (GASP)                                Canada
    95.        The Secretariat of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum                                                                                                                    Belgium
    96.        198 methods                                                                                     USA
    97.        Global Witness                                                                                  United Kingdom
    98.        Atlantic Energy                                                                                  United Kingdom
    99.        Zero Waste Society                                                                          Ireland
    100.      Canopea                                                                                            Belgium
    101.      Limity jsme my                                                                                  Czech republic
    102.      Earthsight                                                                                          United Kingdom
    103.      Fridays For Future Ukraine                                                               Ukraine
    104.      Businesses for a Livable Climate                                                     USA
    105.      Call to Action Colorado                                                                     USA
    106.      CatholicNetwork US                                                                         USA
    107.      Colorado Businesses for a Livable Climate                                      USA
    108.      Community for Sustainable Energy                                                  USA
    109.      Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance                                            USA
    110.      Green House Connection Center                                                     USA
    111.      Indivisible Ambassadors                                                                   USA
    112.      Interstate 70 Citizens Advisory Group                                             USA
    113.      Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, & Environment                         USA
    114.      Littleton Business Alliance                                                                USA
    115.      Mayfair Park Neighborhood Association                                          USA
    116.      Mental Health & Inclusion Ministries                                                USA
    117.      Mind's Eye Productions                                                                    USA
    118.      Montbello Neighborhood Improvement Association                        USA
    119.      North Range Concerned Citizens                                                     USA
    120.      Our Sacred Earth                                                                              USA
    121.      RapidShift Network                                                                           USA
    122.      Save the Environmental Protection Agency                                    USA
    123.      Small Business Alliance                                                                   USA
    124.      Southwest Organization for Sustainability                                        USA
    125.      Spirit of the Sun                                                                                USA
    126.      System Change Not Climate Change                                              USA
    127.      Texas Campaign for the Environment                                              USA
    128.      Unite North Metro Denver                                                                USA
    129.      Wall of Women                                                                                  USA
    130.      Western Slope Businesses for a Livable Climate                            USA
    131.      Womxn from the Mountain                                                                USA
    132.      Working for Racial Equity                                                                 USA
    133.      Climate Risk Horizons                                                                      India
    134.      ZERO – Association for the Earth System Sustainability                Portugal
    135.      Association of Ethical Shareholders                                                 Germany
    136.      Ukrainian Network of Integrity and Compliance (UNIC)                  Ukraine
    137.      NGO "Unique Planet"                                                                        Ukraine
    138.      NGO Green Liberty                                                                           Ukraine
    139.      NGO SaveDnipro                                                                              Ukraine
    140.      NGO “Office for the Environment”                                                    Ukraine
    141.      NGO "Green Generation"                                                                 Ukraine

    142-231. Business for Ukraine Coalition, on behalf of 89 international and Ukrainian members

    232-242. Energy Transition Coalition, uniting 10 Ukrainian organizations.

    243-280+. RISE Ukraine Coalition, uniting more than 50 organizations.

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