Greenpeace calls out UK for '£220 million of Russian oil hypocrisy'

Environmental group's figures show 1.9 million barrels of oil have been imported to Britain from Russia since invasion of Ukraine on February 24

Protesters in Berlin demand an end to German imports of Russian gas and oil. Greenpeace has condemned the UK for continuing to receive shipments of fuel from Russia. Getty

Live updates: follow the latest news on Russia-Ukraine

The UK has been criticised for continuing to import Russian oil after imposing sanctions and vowing to cut supplies from Moscow by the year’s end.

Environmental campaigners at Greenpeace said that despite leading the charge for more sanctions, the UK has imported about £220 million ($277.8m) of Russian oil since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

“The UK government is no stranger to hypocrisy but pledging 'unwavering support' to Ukraine while shipping in almost two million barrels of Russian oil is utterly disingenuous, even by [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson's standards,” said Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

Since the war started, the European Union, which is far more heavily dependent on Russian oil, and the UK have been trying to find new ways to secure oil and gas from different sources.

Less than 4 per cent of gas used in the UK is from Russia, while about 8 per cent of its oil is of Russian origin.

Greenpeace figures showed 1.9 million barrels of oil, or 257,000 tonnes, have been imported since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the latest attacks on Ukraine.

“Despite the mounting death toll, the UK government has given itself until the end of the year to stop importing Russia's bloody oil,” Ms Whitaker said.

“Sanctions don't work until they're implemented and eight more months of oil and gas imports is eight months too many.

“It's clear we need an explicit and immediate ban on all Russian fossil fuels.”

A total of eight tankers have delivered shipments of Russian oil to the UK since February 24, averaging one every week, Greenpeace said.

Another tanker carrying 33,000 tonnes of Russian diesel, destined for the UK, is currently at anchor off the coast of Immingham in Lincolnshire, eastern England.

Greenpeace said the tankers it monitored were mostly carrying diesel and that several of the ships have arrived since the phasing out of Russian oil was announced.

The UK has looked to the Gulf for increased oil supplies after announcing it would end Russian imports.

The government has already banned Russian-owned, operated or flagged ships from entering the UK but there is nothing stopping a vessel owned from Panama, or elsewhere, from carrying Russian oil to Britain.

Last year, the UK consumed 76 billion cubic metres of gas, 32 billion of which came from Norway and 29 billion from the UK continental shelf.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 11:01 PM