As Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in India amid the Russia-Ukraine war continuing with no sign of decrease, the United States said India should not increase its oil imports from Russia and it could expose New Delhi to a “great risk”.
Increase in Russian oil imports
A considerable increase in Russian oil imports by India has alarmed the United States. ‘This move could further expose New Delhi to a “great risk” as the United States prepares to step up enforcement of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine’, a senior US administration official said.
Even though the current U.S. sanctions against Russia do not stop other countries from buying Russian oil, the warning however increases tensions that Washington will try to restrict other countries’ purchases to normal levels.
The US has no objection to India buying excused Russian oil as it did in previous years, but there should not be any sharp rise in imports.
“We continue to confront our partners in India and around the world on the significance of a strong collective action, including strong sanctions, to press the Kremlin to end its devastating war of choice against Ukraine as soon as possible,” a US state department spokesperson said.
The US official’s comment comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s two-day visit to New Delhi.
Fear of US sanctions
US sanctions are decreasing the ability of Russia, which normally produces about 1 in every 10 barrels of global oil, to get crude to market. The Paris-based International Energy Agency has calculated that sanctions and buyer hesitancy could remove 3 million barrels per day from global markets of Russian crude and refined products from April.
The State Department is aware of talks between Russia and India about the purchase of oil, a spokesperson said.
The Biden leadership is corresponding with India and European countries to reduce the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy markets while promoting steps to reduce support for Russian energy, the spokesperson said.
“Whatever they are paying, whatever they are doing, needs to comply with sanctions. If not they are exposing themselves to a great risk”, the source said.
“As long as they are respectful with sanctions and not significantly raising purchases, we are okay,” the source said.
India, also the world’s third-biggest oil importer, and consumer, has been taking up Russian oil through spot tenders since the war broke out on Feb. 24, taking benefit of deep discounts as other buyers back out. India has purchased at least 13 million barrels of Russian oil since Feb. 24, compared with nearly 16 million barrels in all of 2021.