Open Letter: Civil Society Groups Urge Flemish Government to Support 14th Sanction Package on Russian LNG

Vredesactie en partners voor het gebouw van Fluxys.

Read the open letter here.

Razom We Stand, along with partner organisations B4Ukraine, Promote Ukraine, Bond Beter Leefmilieu: Leef, and Vredesactie, has sent an urgent letter to the Flemish government today to support the inclusion of a ban on the transshipment of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the proposed 14th sanction package against Russia. The letter, addressed to Minister-President Jan Jambon and other Flemish government members, highlights this measure's critical importance for putting a stop to Putin’s war chest and the destruction of Ukraine.

The ongoing war, initiated by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, has led to devastating human, economic, and environmental consequences. This conflict represents a direct assault on Ukraine's sovereignty and a blatant violation of international law and human rights.

Despite existing sanctions, Russia continues to fund its military operations through the sale of fossil fuels, including LNG. Between 2021 and 2022, deliveries of Russian LNG to the EU increased by 32%. Last year alone, the EU imported 18.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of LNG from Russia, with an additional 5.25 bcm transshipped through Europe’s terminals to non-European states.

Russia's Yamal LNG, a joint venture led by Russia's Novatek, uses the Zeebrugge gas terminal for transshipment. This lucrative arrangement generates €50 million annually for Fluxys, the terminal's system operator, while providing the Kremlin with approximately €500 million in tax revenues from transshipped Russian LNG. 

Svitlana Romanko, Founder and Director of Razom We Stand, said: "The Flemish government's refusal to support a ban on Russian LNG transshipments is not just a political misstep—it is a moral failing. By allowing these transshipments to continue, they are helping finance Putin’s war machine and effectively contributing to ongoing war crimes. It is time for decisive action. The Flemish government must support the 14th sanction package, with a ban on transshipment and a further ban on Russian LNG imports in Belgium and Europe, to demonstrate that Europe will not tolerate the financing of Russia’s war with European money. Standing with Ukraine is not just about words of solidarity; it’s about actions that uphold our collective values of peace, justice, and human rights."

Sanctions on LNG transshipments and access to technology would impose significant costs on Russia with minimal impact on EU interests. Approximately 90% of the transshipped gas goes to non-EU markets, and LNG markets are expected to be abundant by 2025, ensuring no repeat of the 2022 energy crisis.

Banning Russian LNG transshipments is a matter of economic pressure and a moral imperative. It sends a clear message that Europe will not stand idly by while war crimes are committed and international norms are violated. At the same time, Europe cannot allow an increase in Russian LNG imports within Europe, and must do everything to reduce it now, in accordance with the REPowerEU and decreased gas demand in the EU. 

Razom We Stand emphatically asserts that the cost of inaction far outweighs any immediate economic considerations. Supporting the inclusion of a transshipment ban in the 14th sanction package and further ban Russian LNG imports in Belgium and Europe is not just a strategic necessity but a moral imperative that will help restore stability and security in the region, benefiting all European nations, including Belgium. We demand that the Flemish government stand unequivocally with Ukraine and the international community by voting in favour of these critical sanctions. Europe must remain united against aggression and steadfast in its support for democratic values and human rights. The time for decisive action is now.

“The only way to stop Russia’s continued and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is to defund its war effort by closing the existing sanctions loopholes. The free flow of Russian LNG to the Belgium port of Zeebrugge is one of them. If Belgium is serious about supporting Ukraine, the Flemish government must act to stop Russian LNG flow to Belgium, together with other regions. A full ban on Russian LNG is a good starting point.” Irina Pavlova, Spokesperson, B4Ukraine

“It is crucial to understand that quick economic gains from not banning Russian LNG transshipment will eventually convert into longer and greater needs to support Ukraine as maintaining Russian capability to fund the military machine prolongs the war, increases the risk of escalation and deepens the damage. So, if the Flemish government does not welcome the moral appeal, the purely economic rationale also indicates the immediate need to cut the transshipment.” Olena Kuzhym, Advocacy Co-Lead, Promote Ukraine