Russian and Ukrainian environmental activists jointly called for a European embargo against Russian oil, gas, and coal. This comes as children and young people are preparing to take part in the latest wave climate crisis school strikes, protests, and demonstrations around the globe.
Arina Bilai (16), of Fridays for the Future Ukraine, and Arshak Makichyan, 27, of Fridays for Future Russia, said a ban on trade in Russian fossil fuels would starve its invasion of Ukraine of crucial funds, while accelerating Europe’s transition to clean energy.
“We have now a problem, we have a huge problem. We have war,” said Bilai, who fled Kyiv for Warsaw earlier this month. “The war is happening right in Europe, and Europe is sponsoring it. Europe sends €700m a day to Russia. It’s like fuelling war, it’s exactly like fuelling war.”
Bilai was part in a delegation of young activists representing Ukraine, Poland, and Hungary that travelled to Brussels to meet with politicians at special summits of the NATO and EU Council.
“We are here in Brussels, because we demand [an] embargo,” she said on Thursday. “And we demand strong action [by the] European Union against trading and investment in Russia and investment in fossil fuels.”
Makichyan fled Europe this week in order to avoid any crackdowns on anti-war protesters, after he opposed the invasion of Ukraine. He arrived in Berlin on Tuesday, two days after he spoke out against the invasion of Ukraine.
He said Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels had financed Vladimir Putin’s repressive government. “Our government was using this money not only to buy yachts [and]To build palaces, but also for munitions to the police, to beat up Russian civil society over many years, or to arrest and kill Russian civil society people. And they are using this money to buy arms for upcoming wars,” he said.
Bilai and Makichyan spoke at an online briefing that was organized by the Global Strategic Communications Council. This is a philanthropically supported organization. Public relations networkThis helps climate scientists and campaigners to promote their work.
Their call came before plans for climate strikes on Friday. Activists said they expected more than 1,000 actions around the world. A map posted on Fridays for Future showed 700, including more European and North American activists, and 160 in North America. There were also 80 in Africa, the Middle East and South America. More than 100 are listed in Oceania.
Although events in Ukraine proved impossible to ignore, the protests were slated to march under the slogan “people not profit” and Make a statementThe link between climate breakdown and capitalism is colonialism. Europe saw large events in Brussels and Berlin, Germany. More activists from Ukraine and other countries from Uganda were due to attend these events.
However, the UK response was muted to the call. An Interactive mapThere were 36 strikes in all four countries, but most of them appeared to have been registered by dedicated volunteers rather than large organizations. The Guardian was unable reach any UK event organizers.
Thirty actions were scheduled in the US, with New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC being the most active, Liv Schroeder from Fridays for Future USA said. She also said that mobilizing people was difficult following the pandemic.
The school strike movement began in August 2019, when Greta Thunberg (15 at the time) started striking. Held a solo protestOutside the Swedish parliament. According to data from Fridays for Future, 116,000,000 people took part in 143,000 strikes across 213 countries since then. Three years agoOne Friday strike saw participation from 1.4 million people around the world.