The French transport minister called to get further information on whether TotalEnergies, a major French oil company, was providing jet fuel to the Russian military via a regional joint venture.
According to a story published in Le Monde on Wednesday, TotalEnergies participated in a joint venture with Russian company Novatek and supplied gas condensate to create jet fuel that may have been used by Russian airplanes in Ukraine.
“This is an extremely serious subject, so it needs to be verified whether, voluntarily or involuntarily, there has been a bypass of either the sanctions or the energy that a company, French or other, has produced,” French Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on France 2 television.
TotalEnergies, which unlike major Western rivals has held on to its assets in Russia despite criticism, said it did not operate infrastructure that would have supplied the Russian military and had no knowledge about any potential jet fuel production by its business partners.
Beaune, who said he did not have enough information to take sides on the matter, was the first French government official to comment on the allegations which could undermine President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to bring about peace in Ukraine.
Le Monde said the jet fuel delivered to two Russian air force bases which likely were involved in carrying out air strikes in Ukraine was produced from gas condensate supplied by Terneftegaz, in which TotalEnergies holds 49%.