Ukraine urged TotalEnergies to refuse dividends from the Russian company Novatek

Ukraine urged TotalEnergies to refuse dividends from the Russian company Novatek

Ukraine urged TotalEnergies to refuse dividends from the Russian company Novatek

TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne (file photo)   Ukraine urged TotalEnergies to refuse dividends from the Russian company «Novatek»

Advisors to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Oleg Ustenko and Mikhail Podolyak called on the company to create a fund for Ukrainian victims of the war

Two advisers to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have called on French oil company TotalEnergies to forego a 440 million euro ($438.02 million) dividend – “blood money” from one of the company's Russian holdings – or use the money to rebuild Ukraine.

In a September 1 letter to TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne, obtained by Reuters and first reported by the Wall Street Journal, Zelensky's advisers Oleg Ustenko and Mikhail Podolyak said the French company would receive a dividend of 440 million euros from the Novatek gas company, in which it owns a 19.4% stake.

“This is blood money, profits made after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine… As you are well aware, this amount is largely due to profit at the expense of the Ukrainian people,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s advisers write.

The advisers asked if TotalEnergies plans to abandon dividends and, if not, how it will receive them. They also urged the company to set up a fund for the Ukrainian victims of the war.

“We will not persuade you, but instead we will make every effort to redirect this bloody money to the reconstruction of our country,” they said.

TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company was criticized in the West for not following the example of other major energy companies such as Shell and BP, which said that are going to get rid of their Russian assets.

TotalEnergies has made multibillion-dollar investments in the Russian economy, including stakes in the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects, the latter of which has yet to be launched.