France’s TotalEnergies faces charges for allegedly ‘helping to fuel’ Russian planes – media reports

14 October 2022, 02:36 PM
TotalEnergies is suspected of supplying fuel to Russian fighter jets (Photo:REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

TotalEnergies is suspected of supplying fuel to Russian fighter jets (Photo:REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

French energy giant TotalEnergies may face charges for allegedly helping fuel Russian planes that have bombed Ukraine, the AFP news agency reported on Oct. 14, citing a source close to the case.

Two organizations, namely The France-based Darwin Climax Coalition and Ukrainian group Razom We Stand, have lodged a legal complaint against TotalEnergies for “complicity in war crimes” with France’s national anti-terrorist prosecutor, who investigates war crime allegations.

“Justice should not be blind when faced with the indirect but essential support of multinationals to the war effort, and to the considerable benefits that they continue to enjoy after the invasion of Ukraine,” lawyers said.

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According to the agency, the legal complaint accuses TotalEnergies of helping to provide the Russian government with “the necessary means to commit war crimes” by “continuing to exploit the Termokarstovoye deposit” in northern Russia.

TotalEnergies until recently owned a 49% share in Terneftegaz, the company that extracts gas from the Termokarstovoye field.

The other 51% was held by Russian company Novatek, in which the French firm also owns a 19.4% direct stake.

The French newspaper Le Monde in August said TotalEnergies held a stake in a company that extracted gas condensate from northern Russia, some of which was turned into jet fuel used by Russian air squadrons accused of war crimes in Ukraine.

According to Le Monde, the jet fuel made by the company’s gas condensate was transported to two Russian Air Force bases, namely Morozovsk and Malchevo. These military bases host a squadron of Su-type multipurpose combat aircraft.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups reported that airstrikes on civilians, including on the port city of Mariupol, had likely been carried out by military aircraft from these two Russian military bases.

The French government called for an investigation into the possible involvement of TotalEnergies in the supply of fuel for Russian military aircraft.

In turn, TotalEnergies has contested the claims. It stressed that unstable condensates produced by Terneftegaz had been “exported abroad” and therefore could not have been used by the Russian army as fuel for its planes.

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