Ukraine’s allies have provided thousands of armored vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft and other weapon systems to help the country fight back against Russia’s invasion. But requests for top-of-the-line, NATO-standard battle tanks — above all the German-made Leopard and US Abrams — long went unfulfilled. The US cited training and logistical hurdles and Germany said it would not make such a move alone. Yet there are reasons why Ukraine’s military wants them.
The head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has asked the country’s top three oilfield services companies to explain why they continued doing business in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, and demanded that they commit to “cease all investments” in Russia’s fossil fuel infrastructure.
Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, cited an Associated Press report that the companies — SLB, Baker Hughes and Halliburton — helped keep Russian oil flowing even as sanctions targeted the Russian war effort.
Russia imported more than $200 million in technology from the three companies in the year following the invasion in February 2022, customs data obtained by B4Ukraine and vetted by The AP showed. Market leader SLB, formerly Schlumberger, even slightly grew its Russian business. Much of Russia’s oil is hard to reach, and analysts say that had U.S. oilfield services companies all pulled out, its production would have taken an immediate hit.
Menendez, in letters to the chief executives of the three companies, said he was “extremely disturbed” by AP’s findings. He noted that President Joe Biden and Congress had imposed “ wide-ranging sanctions related to Russia’s violation of another nation’s sovereignty,” while Russia’s invasion was “particularly heinous,” its soldiers committing “tens of thousands of atrocities.”
As people around the world made sacrifices in solidarity with Ukraine, the July 27 letter concluded, “your company sought to make a profit… there is simply no good explanation for this behavior, other than to make a dollar.”
There’s no evidence any of the firms violated sanctions by continuing to send equipment to Russia. Halliburton wound down its Russia operations less than six months after the invasion, while Baker Hughes sold its oilfield services business in Russia after about nine months. SLB announced it would stop exporting technology to Russia two days after