Greenpeace activists block Russian oil tanker in Norway

Greenpeace activists in Norway blocked a Russian oil tanker from unloading its cargo near Oslo Monday, saying the shipment was helping to finance Russian President Vladimir Putin's "warfare". 

A file photo of a Greenpeace banner.
A file photo of a Greenpeace banner. Photo: John THYS / AFP

The Hong Kong-registered Ust Luga, leased by Russian oil company Novatek, is carrying 95,000 tonnes of fuel bound for Esso’s terminal in southeast Norway, Greenpeace said in a statement.

The tanker was coming from its namesake Russian city, near Saint Petersburg, according to the Marine Traffic website.

Greenpeace activists in a small boat chained themselves to the ship, while others in kayaks unfurled banners reading “oil fuels war,” the group said.

Some activists were stopped by police before they could take part in the action.

“I am shocked that Norway is operating as a free port for Russian oil, which we now is financing Putin’s warfare,” Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, said in the statement.

According to a spokeswoman for Esso Norway, the shipment in question was not affected by Western sanctions against Russia imposed over its invasion of Ukraine. 

“The contracts were entered into before Russia invaded Ukraine,” Anne Fougner told newspaper Dagbladet.

“Esso Norway has no other contracts for products from Russia,” she added.

Although it is not a member of the European Union, Norway has matched almost all sanctions imposed by the EU on Moscow since March 18th.

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Norwegian Nobel Committee says Russia ‘trying to silence’ peace laureate Muratov

Russia is trying "to silence" the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov by branding the journalist a foreign agent, the body in charge of the prestigious award said Saturday.

Norwegian Nobel Committee says Russia 'trying to silence' peace laureate Muratov

“Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize… for his efforts to promote freedom of speech and freedom of information, and independent journalism,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said in a statement.

“It is sad that Russian authorities are now trying to silence him. The accusations against him are politically motivated,” she added.

Reiss-Andersen said the Norwegian Nobel Committee “continues to stand behind the important work” done by Muratov and the independent publication Novaya Gazeta.

Russia on Friday added Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, to its list of foreign agents, a label authorities commonly use to stifle critics.

Muratov “used foreign platforms to disseminate opinions aimed at forming a negative attitude towards the foreign and domestic policy of the Russian Federation,” the justice ministry said.

It also accused Muratov of creating and distributing content from other foreign agents.

“What is there to comment on? For comments, contact the ministry of justice”, said Novaya Gazeta’s website.

It added the foreign agents list now included 674 “worthy” people and organisations.

The label adds heavy administrative constraints and requires sources of funding to be disclosed.

It also compels foreign agents to mark all publications – including social media posts – with a tag.

In 2021, when Muratov received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, he dedicated the award to Novaya Gazeta’s “fallen” journalists who “gave up their lives for their profession.”

Since 2000, Novaya Gazeta has seen six of its journalists and contributors killed, including investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in Moscow in 2006.