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Disrupting Russia’s Gazprom “could end the war tomorrow,” says Extinction Rebellion Ukraine founder

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The war in Ukraine could be stopped “tomorrow” by disrupting Gazprom, said the founder of Extinction Rebellion (XR)’s Ukrainian branch, calling on climate protesters worldwide to demonstrate in front of the Russian energy giant’s offices.

The climate activist, who only wanted to appear with his first name Grisha, told The Independent expressing solidarity with Ukraine while still funneling money into the invading country through oil and gas imports was a “problem” and said Russian fossil fuels should be “blocked”.

He is one of millions displaced by the Russian invasion that began just over three weeks ago. The war decimated several cities and is said to have killed thousands of civilians.

Speak with The Independent from Ukraine, Grisha said his whole country was mobilizing to resist the attack. His contribution is not to be at the forefront, but to step up the fight against fossil fuels.

“I’m not a soldier. I don’t know how to fight or shoot with (a) gun,” he said. “We try to focus on different things that other people can do.”

The climate activist said he would like more civil disobedience across Europe targeting Russian fossil fuels, including XR groups and other protesters gathering outside Gazprom offices and preventing people from going to work.

“We believe that if Gazprom stops today, the war will end tomorrow,” said the 38-year-old.

Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas company by production, wields considerable influence both in Russia and beyond, supplying around 40 percent of Europe’s gas. Its subsidiaries have offices across the continent – including several in the UK.

File Photo: Gazprom’s logo is seen during the International Gas Forum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, October 7, 2021

(AFP via Getty Images)

Other companies have distanced themselves from the Russian state-owned energy company since the start of the war in Ukraine – including Shell, which severed ties with Gazprom earlier this month.

In the UK, the Health Secretary has reportedly told hospitals to stop using gas from the energy giant. Germany blocked a new Gazprom pipeline in response to Russian aggression days before the war began.

Europe has so far balked at banning Russian gas imports. But the war in Ukraine has raised even more concerns about the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

As well as its impact on the climate crisis, world leaders have expressed concern about how this money is being spent in the Russian context.

Earlier this week, a European Union environment official said the bloc’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels is funding a “war chest.”

US President Joe Biden last week banned Russian oil and gas imports over the war in Ukraine, saying it would help deal a blow to Vladimir Putin’s “war machine”.

Concerns have also been raised in the UK – where Russian oil is spilling – that the public could inadvertently fund the war by fueling cars or paying energy bills.

Grischa says he would like more civil disobedience against fossil fuels in Europe

(included)

Grisha – as translated by another Ukrainian XR activist – said his group wanted to encourage the global community to protest against fossil fuels while the war rages on and had created slogans and posters to do so – although it was difficult to take action with airstrikes frequent sirens and attacks in the background.

The 38-year-old founder of XR Ukraine said it’s important to see groups around the world helping Ukrainian refugees, but that it’s just a band-aid.

“Many people in Ukraine want to stay and not leave, but return to their countries. Therefore, it is also very important to stop the cause of the problem, not the result.”

Svitlana Krakovska, a Ukrainian scientist who was involved in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, said The guard Fossil fuels fueled both the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine.

“The burning of oil, gas and coal causes warming and impacts that we need to adapt to. And Russia sells these resources and uses the money to buy weapons. Other countries are dependent on these fossil fuels, they are not getting rid of them,” she said.

“This is a fossil fuel war. It is clear that we cannot go on living like this, it will destroy our civilization.”

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

(Pictures of the Press Association)

The UK said last week it would stop importing Russian oil by the end of the year and was exploring options to reduce gas imports.

Meanwhile, the European Union announced that it would phase out its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027.

Grisha tells The Independent He found it “very strange” to see the EU imposing sanctions on Russia and yet paying billions for Russian gas and oil since the war began.

The bloc has paid Russia more than €17 billion for fossil fuels since the invasion began on Feb. 24, according to a tracker from campaign group Europe Beyond Coal.

An EU official said The Independent It has launched an unprecedented response to sanctions over the war in Ukraine. and had just passed a fourth package that included a “wide-ranging” ban on new investments in Russian energy

“It’s working, we’re already seeing the effects on the Russian economy – the stock exchange is closed, the ruble has lost half its value and companies are fleeing the country,” they said.

“However, some transactions are still required to ensure the delivery of certain energy products to the EU.”

Gazprom and the UK Department for Enterprise, Energy and Industrial Strategy have been asked for comment.

According to a letter published on Thursday, Gazprom’s boss has called on its 500,000 employees to rally around Mr Putin to keep Russia a great power in the face of foreign attempts to break it up.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now we are renewing our campaign and launching this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukraine crisis we urge the government to go further and faster to ensure aid is delivered. To learn more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. to sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate, then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/extinction-rebellion-ukraine-war-fossil-fuels-b2038832.html Disrupting Russia’s Gazprom “could end the war tomorrow,” says Extinction Rebellion Ukraine founder

Dais Johnston

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