France asks for clarification on potential links between TotalEnergies and the Russian army

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PARIS, August 25 (Reuters)France’s Transport Minister said a report on Thursday that French oil major TotalEnergies TTEF.PA was involved in supplying jet fuel to the Russian military through a joint venture raised an “extremely serious” issue that required clarification.

Clément Beaune, who said he does not have enough information to take sides on the issue, was the first French government official to comment on allegations that could undermine President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to push for peace in Ukraine. .

Le Monde newspaper reported on Wednesday that TotalEnergies was involved in supplying gas condensate to make jet fuel that could have been used by Russian fighter jets in Ukraine, through the French company’s participation in a venture with Russia’s Novatek. . NVTK.MM.

“This is an extremely serious subject, so it must be checked whether there has been, voluntarily or involuntarily, circumvention either of the sanctions or of the energy that a company, French or otherwise, has produced,” said Beaune to France 2.

He did not say whether a formal investigation was needed.

Manon Aubry, member of the European Parliament for France insoumise, one of France’s main opposition parties, urged the government on Thursday to take a stand on the issue, saying “France can no longer turn a blind eye”.

“We have a French company that has become an indirect accomplice in a deadly war,” she told franceinfo radio.

TotalEnergies, which unlike its main Western rivals has kept its assets in Russia despite criticism, said it did not operate infrastructure that would have supplied the Russian military and had no knowledge of any possible production of jet fuel by its trading partners.

According to Le Monde, the jet fuel delivered to two Russian air force bases that may have participated in airstrikes in Ukraine was produced from gas condensate supplied by Terneftegaz, of which TotalEnergies owns 49%.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Edmund Blair)

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