Ukraine has demanded that Western oil companies, including BP and Shell, stop trading Russian oil in the latest effort to increase pressure on energy companies to cut off a key source of financing for the Kremlin.

Oleg Ustenko, chief economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote letters to the West’s largest energy companies, requesting that all business dealings with Russia, including trading its oil, cease.

“In this existential moment for our nation, we ask that you end all business dealings with the Russian fossil fuel industry in order to cut off the flow of money that finances the mass murder of innocent people,” Ustenko wrote in letters to BP, Shell, TotalEnergies, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

BP, Shell and Exxon have announced plans to dump stakes in Russian investments, but along with commodities traders they have largely continued to lift barrels of oil from the country that they are obligated to buy under long-term contracts.

A BP gas station in MoscowA BP gas station in Moscow © Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Shell has said it will stop all purchases of Russian oil on the spot market and eventually reduce contractual volumes.

The letters also stated that Ukraine would set up a group to track tankers picking up Russian oil, working with activists, academics, civil society groups and data providers.

The plea came as Brent oil, the international oil benchmark, rose 6.6 percent to $115 a barrel on Monday, after Saudi officials said they would avoid responsibility for any future energy shortages worldwide.

EU officials said Monday they would discuss sanctions on Russia’s energy exports, despite opposition from Germany and the Netherlands, who believe the bloc is too dependent on the country’s oil to clean up.

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