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Greenpeace activists block oil tanker

Greenpeace campaigners Andreas Randoy and Halvard Raavand hold signs while blocking a Russian oil tanker from delivering oil in Norway on April 25, 2022. (Photo: Greenpeace)

'Oil Fuels War': Greenpeace Campaigners Block Russian Tanker in Norway

"The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unfathomable," said one activist.

Julia Conley

Campaigners with the international group Greenpeace risked arrest Monday when they blocked a Russian tanker from delivering 95,000 tons of fuel near Oslo, Norway, calling for a ban on tthe import of fossil fuels from the country that is waging war in Ukraine.

Several of the climate advocates unfurled banners reading "Oil fuels war" and "Stop fueling the war" as others pulled a small boat up to the tanker and chained themselves to the vessel, which was leased by Russian oil company Novatek.

The Ust Luga tanker was on its way to deliver $116 million worth of jet kerosene to the Slagentangen oil port controlled by Esso, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

"Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts," said Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, which organized the action. "I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances Putin's warfare."

Norwegian police said Monday that they had arrested 20 campaigners who staged the protest.

Greenpeace noted in a statement that Novatek's largest shareholder is Leonid Mikhelson, a Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

"If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is guilty of the same war crime."

"Putin's sources of revenue must be dried out immediately and banning oil import is a very good place to start," said Pleym. "We need to make this war stop."

The protest came as Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, condemned countries that are still importing gas and oil from Russia, accusing them of being complicit in war crimes.

"If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is guilty of the same war crime," said Ustenko.

Russian forces in recent weeks have been accused of a "deliberate massacre" of civilians in the town of Bucha, of raping Ukrainian women before killing them, and of using cluster munitions on Ukrainian targets dozens of times, posing a risk of creating de facto landmines in civilian areas.

"During these two months of Russia's war of aggression, we have seen horrific images and know the unimaginable suffering of the innocent civilian population of Ukraine," said Pleym. "The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unfathomable."

European countries buy nearly three-quarters of Russia's oil exports, and one-third of the country's income is derived from oil.

Major importers of Russian oil in Europe include Germany, Italy, France, and Poland.

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