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India buys Russian oil despite pressure for sanctions

NEW DELHI (AP) – The state-run Indian Oil Corp bought three million barrels of crude oil from Russia earlier this week to secure its energy needs, resisting Western pressure to avoid such purchases, an Indian government official said yesterday.

The official said India has not imposed sanctions against buying oil and will be looking to purchase more from Russia despite calls not to from the United States (US) and other countries.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

The US, Britain and other western countries are urging India to avoid buying Russian oil and gas. Indian media reports said Russia was offering a discount on oil purchases of 20 per cent below global benchmark prices.

Such prices have surged in recent weeks, posing a huge burden for countries like India, which imports 85 per cent of the oil it consumes. Its demand is projected to jump 8.2 per cent this year to 5.15 million barrels per day as the economy recovers from the devastation caused by the pandemic.

White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki said earlier this week that Indian purchases of Russian oil wouldn’t violate US sanctions, but urged India to “think about where you want to stand when history books are written.”

A man fills his car at a gasoline station in Gauhati, India. PHOTO: AP