Those who sanctioned Moscow are now relying on ‘workarounds’ to get the country’s energy, says Nikolay Shulginov
Western nations have not stopped buying Russian energy despite unprecedented US and EU sanctions against Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov said. These nations have just moved on to “workarounds” to source Russian imports, he told Russia 1 television.
When asked if Western countries still buy Russian oil and gas but through alternative routes, Shulginov said this information was “correct.” However, he did not specify the specific routes used to deliver Russian energy to Western customers.
In December 2022, the EU, the Group of Seven nations and their allies introduced a collective ban on Russian oil exports by sea, along with a price cap of $60 per barrel. Another embargo banning almost all imports of Russian petroleum products, as well as the introduction of price caps on diesel and other petroleum products, came into force on February 5.
Although Russian gas pipelines have not been subject to restrictions, its gas exports to the EU have been drastically reduced following the September 2022 sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 underwater gas pipelines which rendered them inoperative. According to Politico, as of mid-May a consensus had still not been reached within the EU on whether Russian gas pipelines should be sanctioned.
In March, Bloomberg reported that some EU countries had been actively buying Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), with Spain topping the list of buyers in early 2023. Spanish imports of Russian LNG soared 84 % since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. .
France has also become a major Russian importer of LNG, purchasing 1.9 million metric tons of fuel in 2022. It was followed by Spain, which purchased 533,800 metric tons, and Belgium, which acquired 310 000 metric tons over the same period, according to Bloomberg. .
Spain was also the biggest importer of Russian fossil fuels between January 1 and March 9 this year, the news agency said. It was closely followed by Belgium and Bulgaria.
In early May, the EU suggested barring ships that violated Russian oil sanctions from entering EU ports and waterways under a new sanctions package. Later, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on the bloc to ban Indian fuel produced from Russian oil.
India’s crude imports from Russia increased tenfold in the fiscal year to March 31, Bank of Baroda, the country’s second-largest public sector lender, said in May. Amid Western sanctions, Russia has redirected its oil exports to other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Latin America.