European Union nations have escalated their import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia in spite of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. This surge comes as a contradiction to the EU’s stated objective of reducing reliance on Russian fossil fuels in the coming years.
From January to July 2023, European Union nations purchased 22 million cubic meters of LNG, which is a 40% increase compared to 15 million cubic meters during the same period in 2021. This means they bought more natural gas from Russia. The estimated cost of these purchases for 2023 is around €5.29 billion according to calculations by Global Witness.
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Hypocrisy of Europe sanctions
The European Union has already imposed sanctions on the import of Russian coal and seaborne oil. India, China and Türkiye were called out for buying Russian oil and to have blood on their hands. However, it’s important to note that Russian LNG and gas do not currently fall under these EU sanctions which is being bought at a 40% increase, thus, the hypocrisy of EU sanctions in clear light.
Currently, Spain has become the second-largest global purchaser of Russian LNG, closely followed by Belgium. In 2023, Spain acquired 18% of Russia’s overall sales, while Belgium secured 17%. Notably, China accounted for 20% of the purchases during the same period.
“Buying Russian gas has the same impact as buying Russian oil.” Stated by Jonathan Noronha-Gant, senior campaigner at Global Witness.
Noronha Gant further said that purchasing Russian gas holds equivalent consequences as purchasing Russian oil. Both contribute to financing the conflict in Ukraine, with every euro translating to further violence. Despite European nations condemning the war, their financial transactions are essentially supporting Putin’s interests. These countries ought to synchronize their actions with their declarations by prohibiting the trade of Russian LNG, which not only sustains the conflict but also exacerbates the climate crisis.