Independent: European shipping companies ‘mock’ anti-Russian sanctions

European companies (mostly Greek) have almost doubled Russian oil supplies since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, despite desperate attempts by leaders EU suppress the Kremlin war machine by blocking Russian exports to world markets, writes British independent.

Activists told British reporters that EU-based shipping companies “laughed” at plans to impose sanctions on Russia and warned that a partial oil embargo announced this week would not hurt Putin or shorten the war.

The allegations come after an exclusive new analysis by The Independentshowed how shipping companies based in Greece, Cyprus and Malta have increased the volume of Russian oil transportation around the world in recent weeks, taking advantage of a sharp increase in tanker cargo rates.

The numbers show that these shipments added billions of dollars of oil revenue to Putin’s treasury, providing vital funds for the war.

In February, the ships transported 31 million barrels, and in May already 58 million. In total, they have already transported $17.3 billion worth of oil and do not think to stop.

As EU leaders finally reached an agreement this week to ease the embargo on Russian oil, European tankers laden with Russian oil are trading ever more profitably.

An analysis of Refinitiv shipping data by the anti-corruption group Global Witness shows that Europe’s three main supply countries – Greece, Cyprus and Malta – have rapidly increased the amount of Russian oil they transport every month since the start of the war.

In February, when Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine, companies and ships linked to the three countries moved 31 million barrels of Russian oil. In May, that figure jumped to 58 million barrels. In total, ships linked to Greece, Malta and Cyprus have carried 178m barrels since February, worth $17.3bn (£13.9bn) at current Russian oil prices.

At the beginning of the war, ships associated with these countries carried a little over a third of oil exports from Russian ports. By May, that figure had jumped to just over half.

Anastasia Fedyk, professor of finance at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, said the results are “very troubling.” “The EU has leverage over Russia due to the inelasticity of energy supplies: it is difficult and expensive for Russia to redirect its energy sources elsewhere. Allowing EU-flagged ships to carry Russian oil thus only undermines the EU’s negotiating position.

“The oil embargo should be an oil embargo, and this is not an oil embargo,” said Ms. Fedyk, who is a member of the International Working Group on Russian Sanctions and co-organized the Economists for Ukraine initiative. “This is a policy that will partially reduce the supply of oil, while at the same time promoting some structural changes in the oil logistics industry,” she said.

The European Commission finally announced on Tuesday plans to ban maritime imports of Russian oil to European countries, but the measures will be phased in over several months and have been significantly eased as a result of disagreements among EU member states.

However, as we previously reported, and Russia already has its own decisions for this move. In particular, this is the mixing of oil, which sailors have already mastered to produce directly at sea, in neutral waters. Then the oil, which contains 49.9% Russian and 50.1% from other producing countries, is freely sold on the market.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editors.



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