Britain Still Importing Massive Amounts of Russian Oil Despite Sanctions, Report Suggests
15:05 GMT 21.11.2022 (Updated: 15:25 GMT 28.05.2023)
© Photo : Rex FeaturesOil barrel floating in stormy sea, UK
© Photo : Rex Features
Since the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, London has been pushing sanctions against Moscow, despite the energy crisis in Europe and inflation caused by the measure. Despite British politicians sounding adamant about cutting off Russian fuel, some reports suggest that the country is concealing Russian oil supplies.
The UK is still receiving oil from Russia, even if official records suggest otherwise, an investigation published by The Sunday Times has suggested.
According to the report, Britain discretely welcomed 39 tankers carrying Russian oil since the start of the special military op in Ukraine. The oil was classified as being imported from Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Latvia.
In total, the UK received a total of £778 million (around $919 million) of oil from Russia in British ports since March, according to trade statistics. The newspaper reported it had tracked at least four vessels carrying around a million barrels of Russian oil to the port of Immingham.
While such deliveries remain legal until December 5, when the EU-wide ban on Russian oil imports enters into force, there is a reputational risk to countries and firms importing it. However, the report suggested that the legal norms and use of ship-to-ship transfers make the enforcement of any ban on Russian fuel extremely dubious.
© Sputnik / Maksim BogodvidAn oil pumpjack is seen in Almetyevsk District, Tatarstan, Russia.
An oil pumpjack is seen in Almetyevsk District, Tatarstan, Russia.
© Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid/
In accordance with UK regulations, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) accounts for goods not by the country of their origin but by the country of dispatch. For example, the ONS reported zero imports of Russian oil in June – while in reality, HM Revenue & Customs information shows that the nation accepted more than £78 million of Russian oil that month transferred through European countries.
Previously, Washington tried to convince other G7 nations to impose a price cap on Russian oil, building on the EU ban scheduled for December. However, the move has drawn major criticism from many economists who argue that it may further destabilize global energy markets.
While the EU adopted multiple rounds of sanctions against Russia, European countries show mixed trends, with half of the bloc (including Poland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium) actually boosting their imports of Russian goods this summer.
Despite being on the spearhead of anti-Russian sanctions, Warsaw backtracked on its demands to sanction the Druzhba oil pipeline and said it would purchase the fuel from Moscow in 2023.
© Sputnik / Ilya PitalevInternational Forum "Made in Russia"
International Forum "Made in Russia"
© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev/
Similarly, Japanese businesses remain hesitant after the major exodus of Japanese companies from Russia in the spring. According to Teikoku Databank business credit reporting company, only 44% of Japanese firms working in Russia decided to quit the country or suspend their operations by July 2022.
With trade partners joining anti-Russian sanctions and inflicting damage on themselves, Moscow demonstrated a major boost of exports to China and India. Russia has emerged as Delhi's third largest trade partner following China and the UAE. The trade data registered a 393% jump in supplies of Russian goods to India in September - primarily of crude oil, fertilizers, and coal.