Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, the outspoken Australian iron-ore billionaire who is one of the most influential figures in green hydrogen, has been sanctioned by the Russian government after repeatedly slamming the Moscow regime, including calling President Vladimir Putin a “murderer”.
Forrest — who owns Fortescue Future Industries, which aims to produce 15 million tonnes of renewable H2 annually by 2030 — had been planning to build green hydrogen projects in Russia before the Ukraine invasion, and has met Putin on several occasions.
“He’s an incredibly intelligent person, not to be underestimated in any way,” Forrest told Australia’s ABC News in late February. “And tough, very tough.
“I’ve spent time in Crimea, I’ve spent time in Ukraine. We’ve been trying to work with Russia for some time, [but] we’ve made it incredibly clear that you just have no excuse to go and invade another country.”
And in interview with CNN in March, he referred to Putin as “a dictator trying to take an entire other country for his personal ambition” who was fixated with 17th-century emperor Peter the Great and was “casting himself in that mould”.
“I’m saying to my fellow chairmen, chief executives and investors, get out [of Russia] now. It is blood money... there is a murderer at the helm and we need to do everything to not support that murderer.”
Forrest was among 121 Australians, including journalists, businesspeople, academics and military officials, that were today banned from entering Russia, with Moscow’s Foreign Ministry describing them as people “who form the Russophobic agenda in this country”.
Speaking at the Financial Times Hydrogen Summit in London today, he wore the sanction as a badge of honour. “You’re not worth talking to unless you’ve been sanctioned [by Russia], he told the audience.
In addition to owning FFI, Forrest is also a board member and funder of the Geneva-based Green Hydrogen Organisation, which recently launched a global campaign for 100 million tonnes of renewable H2 to be produced by 2030.