Drivers in Norfolk and Bedford who have just filled up their tanks with diesel, may be surprised to learn that their fuel has recently arrived from Russia.
While the impression may be that the UK has ceased trading with Russia since their invasion of Ukraine, it seems this is not so. Motor fuel is not due to be phased out until the end of the year.
So this week a fuel tanker docked at Navigator Terminals at Grays in Essex to discharge 33,000 tonnes of Russian diesel. Among the first trucks to fill up were those from our four largest supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.
The transactions were followed by members of Greenpeace, who then trailed the tankers to their destinations. They failed to keep track of the Asda shipment, but the others they were able to follow to their final destinations.
Tankers tracked to East Anglia
Two of them went to Norfolk. The Tesco tanker delivered to their supermarket in Old Market Road, Stalham and Morrisons was to Victoria Road in Diss. Sainsbury’s went to the Saxon Centre in Bedford.
These revelations come as new polling from YouGov, commissioned by Greenpeace UK, shows how 73 percent of people want the UK government to bring in an immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas. Greenpeace campaigners fear this means drivers in these areas could be unwittingly filling up on diesel that is directly funding Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Greenpeace had managed to prevent the oil tanker docking for almost two days, but police arrests ensured that eventually it could discharge its cargo on 17 May.
It is not clear whether the supermarkets have any knowledge of where their fuel comes from, though it is noticeable that none of the spokespeople for them claimed ignorance.
Customers will be ‘outraged’
Greenpeace UK oil and gas campaigner, Elena Polisano, points out that supermarkets were quick to remove Russian vodka from their shelves and rename ‘Chicken Kiev’, ‘Chicken Kyiv’. “Customers,” she says, “will be outraged if supermarkets are asking them to donate to Ukraine at the till, but passing their money to Putin at the pump.
“If Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons truly want to stand by Ukraine, they should make sure they’re not filling their pumps with Putin’s diesel that is directly funding his bloody war. At the very least, they should demand that the government implement an immediate ban on imports of Russian fossil fuels.”
The supermarkets all point out that it is their intention to phase out fuel from Russia in the coming months But they would have no option anyway, since government sanctions intend that it should cease by the end of the year.