Ukraine war: Why Putin wants help from India, China on oil purchase

NEW DELHI: President Vladimir Putin may need to count even more on India and China after the European Union agreed to ban Russian oil in the bloc’s toughest move against Moscow since the February 24 invasion. From the moment Russia invaded Ukraine, the West has sought to hit Moscow’s lucrative energy sector to cut off funding for its war.

Live updates: Russia-Ukraine conflictHowever, any such move was a double-edged sword, especially in Europe, which relies on Russia for 25% of its oil and 40% of its natural gas. European countries that are even more heavily dependent on Russia have been especially reluctant to act.

But with the war nearing the 100th day and Russia stepping offensive in the east, the EU nations have ultimately decided to ban 90% of all Russian oil imports over the next six months. The move could potentially cost Putin up to $10 billion a year in lost export revenue.

In response to the EU’s decision, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, took to Twitter, saying: “Russia will find other importers.” Dependence on India, China With EU’s latest measure to punish Russia, President Putin will now have to rely on India and China, which are among the few countries that can process the type of crude Europe typically buys.

Russia’s flagship Urals crude — an oil brand that had been popular in Europe — has always had limited buyers in Asia.

The grade can’t easily be refined in large quantities in countries such as Sri Lanka and Indonesia that don’t have sophisticated processing and blending capabilities to handle the highly sulfuric type of oil, traders told Bloomberg. On the other hand, India and China have refineries that can process Urals. This means Putin would hope that both the countries would pick up the extra barrels after the EU embargo comes into force.