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Russia says oil sales to India surged amid war in Ukraine

March 28, 2023

Moscow said that Russian oil exports to India jumped 22-fold last year as Western buyers turned to other markets since Russia launched its war in Ukraine.

An oil production plant in Russia
Russia's oil sales to India surged due to Ukraine sanctions.Image: Total Vostok/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Alexander Novak, Russia's deputy prime minister, said Russian oil sales to India jumped 22-fold in 2022 amid sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.  

Last year, as European countries sought to end their dependence on Russian energy supplies and imposed sanctions on Moscow, Russia has shifted its oil exports to India and China.

Novak said that Russia's energy exports were "redirected" to the "markets of friendly countries," adding that energy revenues accounted for 42% of Russia's federal budget in 2022. 

He said Russia's energy industry was sustainable despite the challenges faced by Western sanctions. 

Are the sanctions working?

India had previously exported large quantities of its oil from Africa and rarely bought Russian oil due to high transport costs. 

But last year refiners in India became Moscow's key oil clients as Russia reportedly offered discounted rates. According to the Indian newspaper The Economic Times, India received 1.72 million bpd of Russian oil just last month.

India buys discounted oil from sanctioned Russia


What is India stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

Over the last year, observers have defined India's position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a muted one. New Delhi has refused to condemn the war or support the Western sanctions. 

At the G20 meet hosted by India, the US repeatedly called for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. But  India refused to condemn the Russian invasion and has called for talks to deescalate the conflict.

"We should not allow issues that we cannot resolve together to come in the way of those we can," said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the gathering. 

Modi has previously said on India's ties with Russia that "the world also knows that it is an unbreakable friendship."

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russia's President Vladimir Putin in September Image: Alexandr Demyanchuk/SPUTNIK/AFP

On the eve of the first anniversary of Russia's war, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) sought to pass a resolution demanding the end of the war. 

India was among the 32 countries that abstained from voting. 

ns/fb (AFP, Reuters)

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A satellite image shows smoke billowing from a Russian Black Sea Navy HQ after a missile strike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Sevastopol, Crimea, September 22.
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