US in warning to India as country looks to accept Russian oil ‘Think where you stand’

Ukraine: Boris Johnson 'we will stop importing Russian oil'

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Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the country’s top refiner, purchased three million barrels of Russian Urals in the first purchase of the grade since the invasion of Ukraine, sources told Reuters on Monday. It also reported India may take Russia up on an offer to buy crude oil, along with other commodities, at a discounted rate. Now American officials have warned the country to be wary about the message its dealings with Russia sends to the rest of the world – not just today but in the future.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters it is unlikely India buying oil from Russia would breach the Joe Biden administration’s sanctions.

But she added that the world is watching.

Ms Psaki, quoted in the Independent, said: “I don’t believe this would be violating [sanctions].

“But also think about where you want to stand.

“When the history books are written in this moment in time, support for Russia – the Russian leadership – is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact.”

IOC sources told Reuters the company did not see a problem in paying for the oil as it was not dealing with a sanctioned entity.

This was reportedly sold by trader Vitol at a discount of $20-$25 a barrel.

An Indian Government official also confirmed to Reuters Russia is offering oil with a “heavy discount”.

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They did not reveal how much was on offer, but said: “We will be happy to take that.”

Another official also revealed their country was looking for cheaper fertiliser from Russia, as well as from Kremlin ally Belarus.

India has not officially condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Meanwhile, Ms Psaki has celebrated America’s sanctions against Putin’s regime.

She said: “Our actions have hit hard at the things President Putin cares about the most.

“Degrading his military access to cutting edge technology and ability to project power and influence.”

While India appears intent on continuing to import Russian oil, some Western traders have cut their links with the country following its invasion of Ukraine.

Shell, among this list, said it would work to change its supply chain “as fast as possible”.

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