After Ukraine’s ‘Morally Inappropriate’ Remark, Jaishankar Defends Oil Import from Russia

India has strongly defended its import of Russian oil ukraine External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar scoffed, saying New Delhi’s purchases were just one-sixth of European purchases in the last nine months.

Jaishankar said during a media briefing with German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock that Europe cannot make a choice to prioritize its energy needs while asking New Delhi to do something else, stressing that both have discussion between India And Russia began long before the start of the Ukraine conflict to expand the trade basket.

Jaishankar’s rebuttal came after Ukraine’s foreign minister condemned the increase in Russian oil purchases by India and called it “morally unjustified”. Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba told NDTV that it was “completely wrong” to justify buying oil from Russia by “arguing that Europeans were doing the same”.

Kuleba’s statement came in response to India defending its purchase of subsidized Russian crude, saying Europe’s imports still dwarf those of his country despite efforts to reduce the continent’s dependence.

Dmytro Kuleba said, “It was morally unfair.”

India has increased its purchases of cheap Russian oil sixfold since the invasion in February, to the extent that Moscow is now its top crude supplier.

Jaishankar, however, justified India’s crude imports from Russia and said New Delhi and Moscow are in talks to enhance trade ties before February 24, when the Ukraine conflict began.

Jaishankar’s tough comments came in the wake of the G7 cap on the price of Russian oil at US$60 a barrel.

“I understand that there is a situation of conflict (in Ukraine). I also understand that Europe has a point of view and Europe will make the choice that is Europe’s right. But Europe must make choices that prioritize its energy needs and Then India should be asked to do something else..

Jaishankar said that the purchase of crude oil by Europe from the Middle East is also putting pressure on the prices.

“And keep in mind, today, Europe is buying a lot (of crude) from the Middle East. The Middle East has traditionally been a supplier for an economy like India. So it puts pressure on prices in the Middle East as well. Jaishankar said, we understand European options and European policies very well.

The foreign minister also said that Europe bought far more fossil fuels than India between February and November.

On India’s overall position on the conflict, Jaishankar said it has been “very clear and very public”.

“The Indian position as expressed by my Prime Minister is that this is not an era of war and dialogue and diplomacy are the answer. This is a position that even the G20 has accepted. This is summed up in their Bali Declaration,” he said.

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