Russia tricked Europe into its energy dependence by funding ‘rabid environmental groups’: experts


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For years, world leaders have accused Russia of funding environmental groups in Europe to steer nations away from energy independence and strengthen Russia’s iron grip on the continent. As nations around the world begin to shun Russian oil in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, US leaders are also questioning the depth of Russia’s ties to the environmental community.

“The Russians are actually funding some of the most rabid environmental groups in Europe because they sic them on energy projects that are not Russian,” James Carafano, vice president of the Kathryn Institute and Shelby Cullom Davis for the national security and foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation, Fox News Digital told Fox News in a recent phone interview.

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In June 2014, just months after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, European leaders announced that Russia was using disinformation operations with environmental groups to steer countries away from fracking in favor of the Russian oil.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen pauses before speaking at a Carnegie Europe think tank event at the Solvay Library in Brussels on Monday, September 15, 2014.
(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

“I have met allies who can report that Russia, as part of its sophisticated information and disinformation operations, has actively engaged with so-called non-governmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas,” Anders said. Fogh Rasmussen, the former Prime Minister of Denmark and then NATO Secretary General, said, according to the Guardian.

The NATO press office passed off the remarks as Rasmussen’s personal opinions, but a NATO official has sounded the alarm over Russia’s tightening grip on Europe.

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“We do not go into the details of discussions between Allied leaders, but Russia has used a mixture of hard and soft power in its attempt to recreate a sphere of influence, including through a disinformation campaign on many issues, including energy. In general, the potential for Russia to use energy supply as leverage on European nations is a matter of concern. No country should use supply and pricing conditions as tools of coercion,” the NATO official told the Guardian in 2014.

Environmental groups meanwhile have feverishly denied any link with Russia.

“The idea that we are puppets of Putin is so absurd that you have to wonder what they are smoking at NATO headquarters,” Greenpeace told the Guardian in 2014.

In this undated photo released by Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, an oil rig

In this undated photo released by Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, a “Kolskaya” oil drilling rig is seen in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.
(AP)

By 2016, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Scotland and Bulgaria had all banned fracking, either temporarily or permanently. Russia’s power over European energy has grown by 2022, supplying around 40% of the continent’s natural gas supply. Lithuania, for example, gets 83% of its oil imports from Russia, Poland 58% and Finland 80%, The Hill reported.

“You are not really an independent nation if you are so dependent on foreign countries for your energy supply,” Michael Shellenberger, the best-selling author of “Apocalypse Never,” told Fox News earlier this month. .

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Shellenberger said that 15 years ago, “Europe produced more natural gas than Russia”, but that all changed because “Russia increased its production of natural gas and Europe reduced it”. .

“Europe decided not to fracture largely in response to climate activists,” Shellenberger told Fox News. “We now believe there is strong evidence to suggest [the climate activists] were supported directly by funding from Russia. »

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In the United States, Republican Representatives Lamar Smith and Randy Weber sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in 2017 claiming that Russia’s goal was to “suppress the widespread adoption of fracking in Europe and the United States” by funding such environmental groups. .

The two Republicans even quoted former Secretary of State Hillary Clintonwho complained during a private speech in 2014 of “bogus environmental groups” pushing an anti-fracking agenda.

hillary clinton

hillary clinton
(Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

“We were even up against fake environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to oppose any effort, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, whatever will be a problem for you’, and a lot of the money supporting that message came from Russia,” Clinton said, according to excerpts leaked by WikiLeaks in 2016.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are now holding the feet of three environmental groups on fire.

Republicans, led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, are demanding that the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club disclose their ties to a San Francisco-based nongovernmental organization that Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly uses to wield power on US energy production.

In this photo from January 26, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow, Russia.

In this photo from January 26, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow, Russia.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“Provided the public realizes the influence of Putin’s black money in Europe and the concerns surrounding similar efforts in the United States, we write today to explore your ties to Sea Change,” the authors wrote. Republicans in the letter to the three groups last week. “Any action by President Putin, the Russian government, or Putin’s allies aimed at undermining American energy security must be addressed.”

All three groups denied any connection in an earlier comment to Fox News, describing the accusations as “completely false”, “rooted in a smear campaign” and a bogus “conspiracy theory”.

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“It is vital to our national security whether Vladimir Putin, the Russian government, or Putin’s allies meddle in America’s energy accessibility and security. If the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council or the Sierra Club have nothing to hide, so we look forward to seeing what evidence they provide by March 25,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader McMorris Rodgers told Fox News. Digital.


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