Russia is making a killing from oil exports despite an embargo from the United States and most of Europe, and it is easily using the profits to finance its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, The New York Times reports.
The reason, the Times notes, is that oil prices have surged during the war, making Russia's profits higher now than they were a year ago even though it is selling its exports at 30% below international market prices.
Oil exports were 45% of Russia's overall revenue in 2021, according to figures from the International Energy Agency, and it still made enough in the first 100 days of the Ukraine invasion to more than replenish what it had spent on the war, the research group said.
Ukrainian officials give a smaller estimate, but still admit Russia is making vast amounts on its oil exports.
Ukraine has repeatedly called on countries and international companies to completely stop trade with Russia.
"We're asking the world to do everything possible in order to cut off Putin and his war machine from all possible financing, but it's taking much too long," Oleg Ustenko, economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Times.
"You can stop importing Russian caviar and Russian vodka, and that's good, but definitely not enough. You need to stop importing Russian oil," he added.
Despite the number of countries that have stopped receiving Russian oil imports, oil prices have risen by about 60%, the research firm found, so Russia's discount on price still gives it higher revenues over a year ago.
Europe has been struggling to free itself of Russian energy as it simultaneously sends Ukraine military aid to fight off the Russian invasion. Greater efforts are being made, though slowly.
Still, China remains Russia's largest fossil fuel importer, while Japan is its top importer of coal, according to the Times. And Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be exempted from a ban on Russian oil that goes into effect later this year.
India has increased its purchases of Russian oil, making Russia its top supplier over Saudi Arabia, which had previously held the No. 1 spot, according to the Associated Press. And Sri Lanka has indicated it is open to buying Russia's oil, its prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, told the AP.
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