EU official says that Europe’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels is funding the war in Ukraine

Virginijus Sinkevicius. Photo credit: European Parliament – CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia.

By Anders Lorenzen

A key member of the European Union (EU) has voiced concerns about the EU’’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels and the consequences thereof.  

Virginijus Sinkevicius, the EU’s environment commissioner, said that EU member states’ reliance on Russian fossil fuels in financing Russia’s “war chest”. The commissioner said: “I don’t need to go deep into our dependency on fossil fuels, and how many billions every year we pay to the Russian war chest.” 

Ease reliance on Russian gas

The statement by Sinkevicius comes as the block is speeding up efforts to ease its reliance on Russian gas as 40% of the EU’s gas usage is provided by Russia. Sinkevicius added: “the less we’re dependent, the better it is for us”. His comments follow that of campaigners and industry voices arguing that as long as we continue to buy Russian gas we are not only funding the war in Ukraine but also the climate crisis. While some go even further arguing that Russia would not have been able to afford the war in Ukraine were it not for the money they had received from EU member states for its fossil fuel purchases.

The EU has recently drawn up plans to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds within a year. Furthermore, the block has said that it wants to make Europe free of Russian fossil fuels by 2030.

The pressure on EU countries to ease their reliance on Russian gas as soon the country invaded Ukraine has seen moves such as Germany halting the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would have seen yet more gas being transported from Russia to Germany as Europe’s industrial powerhouse and one of the European economies most reliant on Russian gas.

The EU spends around $118 million a day buying gas from Russia.

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