FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2022
Oil Change International expresses solidarity with the people of Ukraine
Oil Change International strongly condemns Russia’s military aggression
Oil Change International is horrified by Russia’s war against Ukraine. We strongly condemn Russia’s military aggression. Our heart goes out to the people of Ukraine and people across the region who continue their human rights, climate, and social justice work in these dangerous circumstances, including in Russia.
We urge Russia to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine and stop violating its international humanitarian law and international human rights obligations. We echo the call from the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres: “In the name of humanity bring your troops back to Russia. In the name of humanity, do not allow a war to start in Europe which could be the worst war since the beginning of the century with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation but with an impact we cannot even foresee.”
While peace and the protection of civilians is the first priority, the war also underlines the importance for the European Union to reduce its reliance on fossil gas and Russia-owned companies like Gazprom. Fossil fuels are a major geopolitical force: 38% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia, 36% of Russia’s income comes from oil and gas, and 75% of Russia’s gas flows to Europe. As Murray Worthy from Global Witness points out: “sanctioning the country’s fossil fuel industry would be a powerful lever against Putin, but with 38% of Europe’s gas coming from Russia, it is a step European leaders are both unwilling and unable to take.” The most effective way to reduce reliance on Russia is by cutting gas demand through accelerating efforts on insulation and other energy efficiency measures, heat pumps, and solar and wind energy, rather than through increasing domestic gas production or increasing imports from other parts of the world.
Olha Boiko, Climate Action Network coordinator for the Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia Region (EECCA) calls for international solidarity: “This is not the first war Putin has started in the region. Until this regime falls, we cannot talk about progressive policies, climate action, safe civil society participation and grassroots mobilisation in the region. This is not a “Ukraine crisis” or “Russia-Ukraine tensions”. This is a Russian war against Ukraine. Putin should be stopped. This is a threat to the whole of Europe. We call on the international community to stand in solidarity with people in Ukraine.”