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UK helps Russia fund war in Ukraine through loophole in oil imports

UK helps Russia fund war in Ukraine through loophole in oil imports Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Britain has been accused of "helping Russia pay for its war on Ukraine" by continuing to import record amounts of refined oil from countries processing Kremlin's fossil fuels, citing The Guardian.

Government data analyzed by the environmental news site Desmog, shows that the import of refined oil from India, China, and Türkiye in 2023 will amount to £2.2 billion, matching the record figure of the previous year, compared to £434.2 million in 2021.

The Global Witness campaign has called this process "money laundering," undermining Ukraine's resistance to Russia.

In response to the 2022 invasion, Ukraine's allies pledged to halt the supply of Russian oil and gas. Britain officially banned the import of Russian oil products from December 5, 2022. However, a loophole in the legislation allowed Russian oil to continue flowing into Britain.

Russian oil

As the world's second-largest oil exporter, Russia has had to adapt to new realities under Western sanctions.

Restrictions imposed against Moscow have led to a redirection of a significant portion of oil and petroleum exports to Asian and African regions.

According to over 10 surveyed Russian oil traders, the sharp reduction in oil refining volumes could push Russia to increase crude oil exports by reducing fuel supplies.

Currently, Russia supplies oil to a limited number of major buyers, including China, India, and Türkiye.

However, in terms of petroleum exports, the geography of supplies is more diversified, allowing Russia to cooperate with smaller consumers in Africa and South America.

Refinery attacks

Reports of drone attacks on Russian territory have become more frequent lately. In the past month alone, Ukrainian Defense Forces have struck 12 refineries using drones. This has led to a fuel shortage in the domestic market, prompting Russia to completely halt gasoline exports since March 1.

On April 20, a drone attack once again caused a fire at the Lukoil oil depot in the Smolensk region of Russia.

In response to these attacks, Russia has intensified security measures at its refineries and announced its intention to strike back at Ukrainian military targets.

The Office of the President of Ukraine confirmed that attacks on Russian refineries would continue.