Defuel Russia’s War Machine: Campaign Reveals EU’s Biggest Buyers of Russian Energy

Press Release
Berlin 25.03.2022

Today, the German environment and human rights NGO Urgewald and the Russian environment NGO Ecodefense, launched “Defuel Russia’s War Machine”, a website that reveals which EU companies are the biggest importers of Russian energy. See:

The campaign calls for an immediate and full embargo on Russian fossil fuel and nuclear imports. Such an embargo would cut the financial flows to Russian energy businesses that are a key support pillar for Putin’s war against Ukraine and his violent suppression of civil society at home.

The website lists the major EU importers of Russian oil, gas, hard coal, and nuclear materials. While over 450 Western businesses have withdrawn from Russia to date [1], almost all of Europe’s major energy companies continue doing business as usual

“Since Russia launched its unprovoked attack on Ukraine, many European energy companies have issued statements condemning the war, but talk is cheap. Almost all of these companies continue funneling money into Putin’s war chest via their energy imports,” says Sebastian Rötters, Energy and Coal Campaigner at Urgewald. “The Danish energy company Ørsted set a partial example when it cancelled its hard coal and biomass imports from Russia after the invasion. However, Ørsted still maintains its Russian gas imports. In sharp contrast, German energy companies like RWE, Uniper and EnBW have not even been willing to suspend their coal imports from Russia. Putin’s recent demand that gas payments only be made in rubles is a clear sign economic sanctions work and he’s desperate to salvage his national currency’s worth. It is time to deal the Russian war machine a decisive blow and impose a blanket embargo on all energy imports now.”


Fossil importers are fueling the Russian war machine


In 2021, the EU spent $108 billion, or €99 billion, on Russian energy imports [2], even as troops were already amassing at Ukraine’s border. After Vladimir Putin ordered his army to invade its sovereign next-door neighbor, the West punished Russia with the toughest economic sanctions in history, yet it took great care to leave Russian energy exports intact. The EU’s self-serving approach led to a veritable paradox: the gas flows from Russia towards Europe have increased since the start of the war [3], and energy deals with Western companies are running largely undisturbed.

Urgewald and Ecodefense’s research identifies Russia’s biggest European oil, gas, and coal customers, including the latest available data on quantities purchased and payments made. In addition, each company profile includes notable divestment announcements along with the context necessary to understand and evaluate them. The profiled companies include major European players such as Wintershall Dea, TotalEnergies, Engie, Eni, ENEL, Vattenfall, Equinor, Fortum/Uniper, RWE, E.ON, and OMV. Taken together, the data paints a shameful picture of European energy companies’ collective refusal to give up on Russian energy deliveries.

As Vladimir Slivyak, founder of Ecodefense and laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, says, “Companies which maintain Russian energy supplies to the West must be in the clear: Your money is funding the bullets, shells, and missiles that rain upon Ukraine today.”


European nuclear cooperation with Rosatom


Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom was created on decree of Vladimir Putin in 2007. Next to Russia’s nuclear power program, Rosatom is in charge of maintaining Russia’s nuclear arsenal – the very weapons with which Putin threatened the world on March 1, 2022.

Rosatom also played an important role in Russia’s targeted attacks on two Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs). As Russia took the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plants by force, Rosatom stepped in to take over control [4]. Shelling, fires, and nuclear security staff working long shifts at gunpoint all happened under Rosatom’s watch.

Up to now, European companies have failed to cut their ties with Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation. Energy companies in Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Finland operate nuclear reactors of Russian design and import the nuclear fuel for these reactors from Russia.  None of these companies have yet cancelled their supply contracts with Rosatom.

The EU’s largest nuclear power producer – France – cooperates closely with Rosatom through Areva, EDF, Alstom, Schneider Electric, and Rolls Royce. State-owned and private French entities work with Rosatom subsidiaries for the delivery, enrichment, and disposal of uranium. Through a subsidiary, Rosatom owns a 34% stake in the Finnish company Fennovoima. Fennovoima is developing the Hanhikivi NPP. The Russian reactors in the project will likely also require Russian fuel. The Finnish government recently declined Rosatom’s license, but Fennovoima is yet to announce how that would affect plans to begin construction in 2023.

“Many watched in horror as artillery fire and projectiles hit Ukrainian nuclear power plants during the first days of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Despite its role in these harrowing attacks, Rosatom remains a trusted partner for a range of European energy companies,” said Vladimir Slivyak, Founder of Ecodefense. “Clearly, Rosatom has no qualms about engaging in nuclear terrorism and greenlights the shelling of nuclear power stations and spent fuel depots. To continue buying reactors and uranium from this corporation is nothing short of criminal. Worse yet, it also amounts to directly propping up the No. 1 threat to nuclear safety and peace in Europe and the rest of the world.”

Ending all business ties with Russia’s fossil and nuclear companies is the only way to stop fueling Putin’s war. See Urgewald and Ecodefense’s campaign website “Defuel Russia’s War Machine” here.

The next planned website update will add information on international companies involved in joint ventures with Russia’s energy conglomerates as well as the biggest financiers of the Russian fossil fuel sector.









    Bild Anprechpartner   Sebastian Rötters

    Sebastian Rötters
    Energy and Coal Campaigns
    sebastian [at]

    Bild Anprechpartner   Sonja Meister

    Sonja Meister
    Energy and Coal Campaigns
    sonja.meister [at]

    Bild Anprechpartner   Dr. Ognyan Seizov

    Dr. Ognyan Seizov
    International Communications Director
    ognyan.seizov [at]
    +49 (0)30 863 2922-61

→  Unser Team