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As the West lectures and threatens India about Russian fossil fuel imports, data shows EU and USA remain largest buyers: Here is all you need to know

Even as the West lectures India on not doing enough to punish Russia for its Ukraine war, data shows that it is the European Union and the United States that are among the largest importers of Russian energy supplies.

Russia has exported €63 billion worth of fossil fuels since its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year. And the major buyer has been the European Union (71%), with imports totalling € 44 billion, reported Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CERA).

“The largest importers in order were Germany (€ 9.1 billion), Italy (€ 6.9 billion), China (€ 6.7 billion), Netherlands (€ 5.6 billion), Turkey (€ 4.1 billion) and France (€ 3.8 billion),” the report added. India fared at the bottom of the list [pdf] while the US remained above Egypt and India in fossil fuel imports from Russia.

The independent research organisation has found that LNG and gas purchases (through pipelines) to the European Union also increased by 20% and 10% respectively. In fact, 1/4th of Russian fossil fuel shipments arrived in European Union ports, namely, Rotterdam and Maasvlakte in the Netherlands, Trieste in Italy, Gdansk in Poland, and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Russian fossil fuel importers, data via Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air

India is being targeted despite EU, USA importing more fossil fuels from Russia

Ever since the US imposed sanctions on Russia, India has been under growing pressure from the West to stop importing crude oil and other fossil fuel supplies from Russia. India has even been accused of weakening calls for sanctions on Russian oil purchases by the European Union.

On March 31, Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics of the Biden administration, Daleep Singh, had threatened India with ‘consequences’ for purchasing oil from Russia and setting up an alternate payment mechanism to circumvent US sanctions.

“I come here in a spirit of friendship to explain the mechanisms of our sanctions, the importance of joining us, to express a shared resolve and to advance shared interests. And yes, there are consequences to countries that actively attempt to circumvent or backfill the sanctions,” he had remarked.

Singh had also warned India to reduce its ‘dependence’ on Russia for its defence and energy requirements. “What we would not like to see is a rapid acceleration of India’s imports from Russia as it relates to energy or any other any other exports that are currently being prohibited by us or by other aspects of the international sanctions regime,” he cautioned.

India’s befitting response to the West

While speaking at the India-Uk Strategic Futures Forum earlier in April, Dr S Jaishankar reiterated that European countries were the biggest importers of Russian gas and oil. While defending the decision to purchase Russian crude oil at discounted prices, the EAM emphasised that it was important for India to obtain good deals on energy supplies, at a time when global markets were volatile.

“It is interesting because we have seen for some time what looks almost like a campaign (against us) on this issue. When the oil prices go up, I think it is natural for the countries to go out into the market and look for what are good deals for their people,” he had remarked.

During a conversation with British Foreign Secretary of State Liz Truss, S Jaishankar emphasised that India purchased its majority of energy supplies from the Middle East. He pointed out that around 8% of the total oil imports were from the United States while less than 1% of crude oil purchases were from Russia.

He had added, “I am pretty sure if we wait two or three months and actually look at who are the big buyers of Russian oil and gas, I suspect the list would not be too different from what it used to be and I suspect we won’t be in the top 10 on that list.”

On April 11, S Jaishankar gave a befitting reply to a reporter, who had tried to raise the issue of Indian oil purchases from Russia during the 4th edition of the India-US 2+2 dialogue.

“I noticed you referred to oil purchases. If you are looking at energy purchases from Russia, I would suggest that your attention should be focused on Europe,” he emphasised.

Dr S Jaishankar pointed out, “We do buy some energy, which is necessary for our energy security. But I suspect looking at the figures. Our total purchases for the month will be less than what Europe does in an afternoon. So, you might want to think about it.”

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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