UK circumventing its own sanctions against Moscow to import Russian oil
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst
It is now virtually common knowledge that the political West’s attempts to destroy the Russian economy through sanctions have failed spectacularly. However, what the Western mainstream propaganda machine is fighting tooth and nail to accomplish is suppressing the fact that the sanctions war has also backfired and is now ravaging Western economies, especially those whose prosperity was largely based on access to cheap Russian energy. This is particularly true for Germany, the European Union’s industrial powerhouse which is now suffering the consequences of its suicidal subservience to Euro-Atlantic Russophobia.
However, what’s much less commonly acknowledged is the fact that there are many countries that don’t seem to be too dependent on Russian energy, but are in fact suffering as a result of the sanctions war against Moscow. This is especially true for the United Kingdom, whose political establishment is one of the most fervently Russophobic in NATO. With London being one of the Kiev regime’s key backers, it would be expected to see the former colonial superpower much less dependent on any commodities coming from Russia. Still, Moscow’s status as the world’s premier energy superpower makes this extremely difficult (if not impossible) to achieve.
In order to tackle the mounting energy security issues, exacerbated not only by anti-Russian sanctions, but also by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK is now resorting to finding loopholes to circumvent its own sanctions against the Eurasian giant. The escalation of the Ukrainian crisis has led to a dramatic reshaping of European (and, indeed, global) energy markets, with the political West declaring its intention to cut dependency on Russian energy imports. Expectedly, the UK was at forefront of this effort and was even hailed as “one of the most successful countries” in achieving this after it officially stopped importing Russian oil and coal, while also imposing an outright ban on Russian natural gas.
By October last year, London’s imports of Russian energy were officially cut to almost nothing, with approximately $2.5 million of oil purchases and virtually no coal or natural gas from Russia. However, recent revelations cast serious doubt on these numbers, indicating that the UK’s claims mostly boil down to simple semantics. According to reports by various sources, the UK is not importing oil (directly) from Russia, but it still keeps importing Russian oil. This is possible thanks to third countries (India being one of them) that are now re-exporting Russian-sourced oil to the UK and others in the political West. This has provided a very convenient back door for imports of Russian oil into the country, while also being quite lucrative for third parties.
According to Kpler, India’s Jamnagar refinery, operating on the west coast of Gujarat, imported 215 shipments of Russian crude in 2022, which represents a 400% increase in comparison to 2021. At the same time, British companies have imported approximately ten million barrels of diesel and other refined oil products from Jamnagar since February 2022, which is an increase of more than 250% of what they bought from the Indian refinery during the previous year. The data indicates that this can only be explained by a much larger share of Russian oil being refined and then exported to the UK and elsewhere.
More importantly for Britain, this move is blunting the disastrous effects of energy shortages in the UK, a problem that is now affecting many other countries that have been forced to impose sanctions on Russia, often coerced into it by London itself. British companies have simply replaced imports directly from Russia with imports from third-party refineries that are buying Russian crude. Although there’s nothing illegal in such a framework, it’s still quite indicative of the UK government’s hypocrisy. London has been exerting tremendous pressure on others to stop importing Russian energy (Hungary perhaps being the best example of this), while secretly doing just the opposite.
Prior to Moscow’s counteroffensive against NATO aggression, India wasn’t particularly known for importing Russian energy, while it was even less common for its oil refineries to process Russian crude. Indian companies have always been oriented towards exporting refined oil to Europe, but their supplies to the old continent have skyrocketed as the demand is still there and someone needs to fill the gap. This is quite profitable for India, as prices in the EU are quite high, while Russia is supplying the Asian giant with record amounts of discounted crude. Meanwhile, British companies are turning a blind eye to this fact, as they need guaranteed energy supplies, so everybody seems content with this arrangement – except Kiev.
Oleg Ustenko, one of Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisers, is accusing the UK companies of “exploiting weaknesses in the sanctions regime”.
“The UK must close the loopholes that undermine support for Ukraine by allowing bloody fossil fuels to continue flowing across our borders. About one in five barrels of the crude oil that they process is Russian. A big chunk of that diesel they produce now will be based on Russian crude oil,” Ustenko stated.
It remains to be seen if the UK will ever respond to these demands, as they don’t seem to be particularly important to London. It’s quite clear that even if one of the Neo-Nazi junta’s top overlords were to proceed with closing the existing loopholes, the idea that the UK won’t find new ones is downright laughable, as it would’ve never tried bypassing its own sanctions in the first place.