Almost 2 million barrels of Russian oil worth £220 million imported into the UK since the war in Ukraine began


Shipments of Russian oil, totalling 257,000 tonnes, have been imported into the UK since the war in Ukraine began, a new analysis of industry data by Greenpeace UK reveals [1]. The imports, which equate to 1.9 million barrels, have an estimated value of almost £220 million.

A total of eight tankers have delivered shipments of Russian oil to the UK since Russia first invaded Ukraine on 24 February, averaging one every week. Another tanker carrying 33,000 tonnes of Russian diesel, destined for the UK, is currently at anchor off the coast of Immingham in Lincolnshire.

More than four fifths of the oil imports have been Russian diesel, with the rest made up of fuel oil [2]. The UK currently relies on Russia for 8% of oil and 18% of diesel imports and despite pledging “unwavering support” to Ukraine, Boris Johnson has left the door open to Russian oil imports until the end of the year

The UK government has imposed a ban on Russian owned, operated or flagged ships from entering the UK. However, Russian fossil fuels are still able to pour into Britain via tankers owned and flagged by other nations.

All Russian fossil fuel shipments that have arrived in Britain since the war began have been imported legally, rendering the UK government’s ban on Russian ships tokenistic. 

Greenpeace UK is calling for the sanctions to be tightened and a genuine and immediate ban imposed on all Russian fossil fuel imports, in order to stop the flow of fossil fuel money to Vladamir Putin that is funding his bloody war in Ukraine [3].

Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The UK government is no stranger to hypocrisy but pledging ‘unwavering support’ to Ukraine while shipping in almost 2 million barrels of Russian oil is utterly disingenuous, even by Boris Johnson’s standards.

“This war has cost at least 2,000 civilian lives so far [4]. That’s 2,000 innocent deaths largely funded by fossil fuels. Despite the mounting death toll, the UK government has given itself until the end of the year to stop importing Russia’s bloody oil. 

“Sanctions don’t work until they’re implemented and eight more months of oil and gas imports is eight months too many. It’s clear we need an explicit and immediate ban on all Russian fossil fuels.”

Greenpeace has been monitoring Russian fossil fuel shipments since the war began, through its Russian Tanker Tracker Twitter bot [5], which uses shipping data to monitor supertankers delivering oil and gas from the country.

Six of the shipments to the UK have come from the Russian port of Primorsk, with the remaining two from Tuapse and Vysotsk. They have been imported into five ports across the UK in Merseyside, Essex, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire.

In addition to banning Russian oil and gas imports, Greenpeace UK is calling for the government to end the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels altogether and stop wasting energy by improving the energy efficiency of buildings and rolling out low carbon heating. This would not only stop the flow of money to Putin, but help tackle the climate crisis as well as reduce soaring energy bills.


Contact: Greenpeace UK Press Office – or 07944 244 076

Notes to editor:

  1. Russian oil imports data
  2. Fuel oil is a general term covering many different heavy oils – including diesel fuel, furnace oil, home heating oil, marine fuel etc. 
  3. Russian fossil fuel exports make up 60% the country’s exports and make up for 40% of the Kremlin’s federal reserves. By continuing to import fossil fuel from Russia, the UK government is funding the war in Ukraine
  4. United Nations – Ukraine: civilian casualty update 21 April 2022
  5. Greenpeace Tanker Tracker – At least 148 oil and gas tankers have left Russia since war began, new Greenpeace tracking service shows

What's next?