Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed Saturday that sanctions from Western nations targeting Russian energy exports won’t hurt the country’s profits this year.
“Considering the price level that has been established as a result of the West’s policies, we have suffered no budgetary losses,” Lavrov told a Bosnian Serb television station, according to Reuters. “On the contrary, this year we will significantly increase the profits from the export of our energy resources.”
The foreign minister added: “Oil, generally speaking, is not subject to politics, there is a demand for it…we have alternative sales markets, where we are already increasing sales.”
His comments came days after the European Union agreed to ban 90 percent of crude oil imports from Russia. The United States has also moved to block Russian oil imports following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The European Council said last month that its ban will include crude oil and petroleum “delivered from Russia into Member States, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline.” International oil prices increased in the wake of the EU‘s decision to cut off Russian oil.
Last month, before the EU announced its oil ban, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that Russia’s profits from oil exports were up 50 percent compared to the beginning of the year.
Insider reported that the agency said the Kremlin was raising $20 billion per month in sales from the exports, which increased to more than 600,000 barrels per day in April, and that demand from India and China made up for losses in Western markets. In the wake of Russia’s invasion and Western sanctions on Russian energy, India and China have moved to buy more Russian oil than ever before.
A report released by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in late April found that Russia had sold more than $66 billion worth of fossil fuels since its invasion of its Eastern European neighbor despite facing harsh sanctions.
At the time, the report found that Germany was the largest EU purchaser of Russian fossil fuels, buying $9.5 billion worth. Italy ranked second at $7.2 billion. Meanwhile, China spent just over $7 billion between late February and April, according to the report.
While it initially continued to purchase Russian fossil fuels, Germany moved to scrap the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would have increased its supply of Russian gas, in response to the ongoing invasion.
Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment.
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