Six months into the Russian war on Ukraine started, Western sanctions have targeted almost every aspect of the Russian economy, particularly the Russian oil and gas outputs, in an attempt to limit its ability to continue its invasion of Ukraine. But have these measures worked?
Given Russia's status in the energy sector, as the world's second-largest producer of natural gas and the third in terms of oil production, sanctions on both gas and oil exports by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union were aimed at weakening the country's economy and consequently forcing it to sit for negotiations.
Sanctions continue to wreak havoc in energy markets, especially in European countries that were largely dependent on the Nord Stream 2 offshore natural gas pipeline that provides Germany, Finland, and Sweden with gas that is much needed during the winter months.
Since several European countries depend heavily on Russian gas supplies and are committed to long-term agreements, many are still receiving Russian gas and oil, such as Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. Russian sales of oil and gas have increased to their highest in 13 years, growing by 20% by June 2022, compared to the first half of 2021.
EU Imports of Russian gas are expected to be slashed by nearly 90% by the end of 2022.
Yet, this has not happened so far and eyes are cast on the countries that are still buying Russian gas and oil.
Source: Visual Capitalist
So which countries are still supporting the Russian energy sector?
While the Russian war in Ukraine has led to long-lasting damage to Russian-Western relations, many countries around the world try to maintain a neutral position to avoid disrupting ties with either side of the war.
Moreover, some of the world's influential countries seem determined to seize the moment to make the best out of the crisis, including ones that increased their imports of Russian gas and oil at favorable rates, at a time prices of both commodities reached massive spikes.
The following figures are based on reports between February and June 2022
1- China $13.2 billion worth of fossil fuel
2- Germany $12.7 billion worth of fossil fuel
3- Italy $8.2 billion worth of fossil fuel
4- Netherlands $8.2 billion worth of fossil fuel
5- Turkey $7.0 billion worth of fossil fuel
6- Poland $4.6 billion worth of fossil fuel
7- France $4.5 billion worth of fossil fuel
8- India $3.6 billion worth of fossil fuel
Latest reports have noted that Afghanistan is planning to buy a million barrels of Russian oil and that the Taliban-led Afghan government is open to other deals with Russia regarding energy supplies.
India and China, both key energy markets have noticeably increased their input of Russian gas since the war started last February. For example, India's daily imports of Russian oil grew by 764,000 barrels when compared to January 2022 numbers.
Similarly, China's imports of Russian gas reached a historic peak in May 2022, jumping by 80% on annual basis.
With fossil fuel prices surging globally, many third-world countries are eyeing an opportunity for Russian gas with favorable prices, so they lower the cost of inflation suffered following the war.
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