Among those at the pivotal climate talks are the billionaire and former aluminium magnate Oleg Deripaska, who is under UK sanctions, and the billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, the former head of the Russian fertiliser company the EuroChem group, who has been targeted with individual sanctions by the European Union which he disputed, calling them “absurd and nonsensical”.
The Gas giant Gazprom has sent six delegates to the talks, alongside the managing director of Sberbank. Both are under US and EU sanctions. Representatives from the oil company Lukoil, the mining company Severstal, and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works are also in attendance, all of which are under US sanctions.
The Oil and gas company Tatneft, currently sanctioned by the EU, sent three lobbyists to the climate talks, according to data compiled by the organisations Corporate Accountability, Global Witness and Corporate Europe Observatory. The Russian delegation includes the metallurgical companies Severstal and NLMK Group, part of an industry that has faced sanctions by the EU.
The Cop27 climate talks have been coloured in large part by debates about how the world should adapt to a shortage of Russian gas supplies. This follows months of fears in Europe around energy shortages stemming from Moscow’s decision to abruptly halt gas supplies to Europe, in response to international sanctions because of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The presence of industry lobbyists and oil and gas industry executives, including six representatives from the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a lobby group, suggests Russia is using the crucial climate talks to drum up business.
It also suggests the Russian delegation may be looking to promote unsanctioned industries, like some metals and fertiliser, which are tied up with Russia’s impact on global food supplies and the rising cost of food products, particularly in the global south.
Dr Oleksiy Ryabchyn, a Ukrainian member of the delegation at Cop27, said it was “ridiculous to know that Russian oligarchs are sneaking through the corridors. It is ridiculous that they are able to freely travel. For me, if these oligarchs are not able to stop this bloody war then they should not be [at Cop]. Ukrainian NGOs tried to find those Russians to organise a protest but they are hiding in offices and are afraid to walk freely in the corridor. We see that Russia is in complete isolation at this conference.”