Greenpeace’s Ukraine war demonstrators link kayaks to Russian oil tanks

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Ukraine’s war demonstrators in kayaks and an inflatable boat have chained themselves to an oil tanker in Norway to prevent what they say is the supply of nearly 100,000 tonnes of Russian oil, Greenpeace said on Monday.

“Oil is not only the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts,” Frode Pleym, program manager for Greenpeace Norway, said in a statement.

“I am shocked that Norway is acting as a free port for Russian oil, which we know is financed [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s warfare, “Pleym continued.

Greenpeace said activists want a ban on Russian oil imports into Norway and that Esso, a subsidiary of US-based ExxonMobil, “cancels its contracts to buy fossil fuels from Russia in this time of war.” The group also included members of Extinction Rebellion, a global network of climate change activists.

“Esso claims to be opposed to the war in Ukraine, but their actions make them complicit in financing the Russian war machine and taking advantage of the suffering of the Ukrainian people,” Extinction Rebellion activist Vebjørn Bjelland Berg said in a statement issued by a spokesman for Norway. chapter, Even Empty.

Pictures from the scene show fewer than 10 activists floating in small boats by the tanker and holding up signs that read “Oil fuels war” and “Stop fueling the war.”

The local TV station TV2 reported that as many as 10 people were arrested in the incident. Empty mentioned a higher number and said 15 activists with his group and seven from Greenpeace were detained.

Greenpeace said in a statement that the “peaceful action” is taking place in the Oslo Fjord in the oil port Slagentangen owned by Esso.

Richard Scrase, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, said Esso complied with pre-war contracts and complied with sanctions.

“We have not made any new purchases of Russian products since the invasion and there are no plans for future purchases,” Scrase said in an email. “We support the internationally coordinated efforts to put an end to Russia’s unprovoked attacks.”

The protest highlights the dispute over Russian oil in Europe. European countries are heavily dependent on Russia to meet their oil and gas needs, and have so far not imposed a wholesale embargo, although activists say the money from the purchase of Russian oil and gas is financing the war in Ukraine.

Greenpeace said activists in kayaks and a dinghy attached to the ship’s anchor chain, Ust Luga, to prevent it from unloading about 95,000 tonnes of oil to an oil terminal off the coast of Asgardstrand, a port city south of Oslo. . The organization, which campaigns for environmental and other reasons, estimated that the ship’s cargo was worth $ 116 million.

Ust Luga is registered in Hong Kong, according to the website Marine Traffic. Greenpeace said the tanker is operated by Novatek, a major Russian producer of natural gas.

According to Marine Traffic, Ust Luga was anchored in the waters of southeastern Norway, close to the Slagen oil terminal owned by ExxonMobil’s Esso Norway. A tugboat approached it around noon. 15.25 local time and a ship from the police was nearby.

Greenpeace activists are best known for staging colorful stunts to raise awareness of the climate crisis, but the global nonprofit network also advocates “peace, global disarmament and non-violence.”

Pleym seeks to raise awareness of both climate issues and the war. “During these two months of Russia’s war of aggression, we have seen horrific images and know of the unimaginable suffering of the innocent civilian population of Ukraine,” Pleym said. “The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unmanageable.”

“… The Ukrainian president has called on Europe to stop Russian fossil fuels. And with good reason, ”Pleym continued. “Putin’s sources of revenue must be wiped out immediately, and a ban on oil imports is a very good place to start. We need to stop this war. “

Miriam Berger contributed to this report.

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