Fueling Genocide: Western Financial Institutions Must Stop Supporting Russia

Thursday, 25 August 2022 — , Razom We Stand

JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Citigroup, and Crédit Agricole have provided in total more than 12 billion dollars of loans for Russian oil and gas companies in the run up to Russia’s full-scale military invasion and continued providing financial services for them after Putin started the massacre.

In July Oleh Ustenko, chief economic adviser of president Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote a letter to these banks urging them to cut all ties with Russian oil and gas and stop doing business with the aggressor country. They are major lenders of Russian oil and gas companies and still hold billions in their bonds.

Ustenko made it clear that these institutions will not be allowed to participate in the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. Also, Ukrainian special services are collecting information about cooperation of top managers of these banks with Russia, and after the end of the war, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine is going to refer this matter to the International Criminal Court.

JPMorgan invested billions in Putin’s oil and gas and holds high stakes in Gazprom, Lukoil, Sberbank, and Rosneft. Citigroup provided loans, bond issuance, and revolving credits to Russian oil and gas giant Lukoil, Gazprom, and trading company Vitol. HSBC holds shares in Lukoil, Tatneft, Novatek, Gazprom and Rosneft. CreditAgricole has a shareholding in Novatek, Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft, Tatneft, and Surgutneftegas.

By maintaining ties with Russian oil and gas, banks are prolonging the genocidal war in Ukraine.

Propped by record revenues from fossil fuel trade, the Kremlin has turned Ukrainian cities into crime scenes, with the International Criminal Court dispatching the largest team of detectives ever to aid in investigations, including examinations of mass graves in Mariupol', Bucha, Borodianka, and other towns and settlements.

The ethical implications of complicity in Putin’s war crimes are questioning the social license of these institutions. Therefore, continued involvement with Russian fossil fuel trade represents a significant business, legal, and reputational risk for banks and their executives.

Exports of oil and gas are responsible for over 40% of Russia’s federal budget income. Over six months big banks were profiteering on Putin’s war and helping him to fund it, as they provide financial services to Russian fossil fuel producers and companies that are involved in export supplies.

Given all this Citi, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Crédit Agricole, and other banks and institutions, that continue funding Putin’s bloody war by propping up Russian oil and gas producers and traders, must face public outcry and be challenged in their parent countries.

Last week, together with more than twenty Ukrainian civil society organizations we reiterated the demand to cut ties with the Russian oil and gas industry in our letters to senior managers of these four banks. We demand them to immediately stop extending loans to Russian fossil fuel companies and companies trading Russian oil and gas.

Banks must make clear public statements about their intention to exit Russia, and then dismiss their banking licenses in Russia.

So far none of them made any indication that they are listening to us. That’s why we ask people to go to their headquarters in New York, London and Paris so we can make our voice heard.

I launched the Stand With Ukraine campaign in early March as a response to the invasion and now I’m running as a director of an organization called Razom We Stand in support of this campaign. Our aim is to cut off the flow of fossil fuel money to Putin, as it is a bloodline of his wars. We are also striving to end fossil fueled conflicts globally and stop the climate chaos. We cooperate with partners all around the world to drive the clean energy revolution.

Since the war against Ukraine started, we have supported communication around phasing out fossil fuels globally and fighting the ‘peace washing’ of fossil fuel companies.  Most recently we were advocating against greenwashing in the EU Taxonomy. With our current work, we push for an effective all-in-one European embargo of Russian oil and gas to be put in force as soon as possible.

 

Today I call on everyone who stands for peace and justice to go after the management of those banks, that are involved in financing Putin's war. We must force them to stop extending loans and other financial services to Russian fossil fuel producers and traders. Without big banks standing behind his back, Putin’s power will shrink to impotence.

Without fossil fuel income he would no longer be able to plow billions of dollars into the destruction of Ukraine and Ukrainians. This will end his bloody war and bring peace to Europe. Help us to bring this day forward.

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