Ending dependence on Russian fossil fuels after the country’s invasion of Ukraine has been a case of easier said than done for many nations. While in Europe, the desire to withdraw crucial funds from Russia’s war effort was perhaps strongest, established supply chains with the neighbor to the East have also proven some of the hardest to break.
Data from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air shows that despite its declared intentions, European Union cutbacks on Russian fossil fuel imports hardly surpass the world average of a 15% reduction in monetary terms. For this metric, the rising prices of fossil fuels in the world market run counter to reductions in the volume of imports, revealing another difficulty in trying to cut Russia off from one of its main revenue sources.
Notable exceptions within the EU are Sweden—which ended virtually all Russian fossil fuel imports—, Spain and Finland as well as Lithuania, Poland and Estonia, all cutting their reliance on Russian mineral fuels at least in half. Germany, the Netherlands and Italy remain below the global average.
Because of the different sizes of the countries in question (and because of their different previous levels of dependence), these relative reductions do not all have the same weight when looked at in absolute terms. According to the report, the United States managed the biggest absolute reduction for a single country. Cutting out Russian fossil fuels completely reduced daily revenues for Russia by around $33 million between February-March and May 2022. Yet, the combined 16% reduction by the European Union, despite smaller in relative terms, cut a much larger $114 million from daily Russian revenues over the same time period.
India buying up the excess
One country that is instead funneling more money into Russian coffers by snapping up discounted Russian oil shipments is India. Between February-March and May, the country spent around $65 million more per day on Russian energy.
All in all, Russia has been losing fossil fuel revenues to the tune of $100 million per day since the invasion due to the boycott of its products. Russia is giving discounts on shipments, but world market prices that have been severely elevated since mid-2021 and have climbed even more since the Russian war in Ukraine started mean that the country is still earning a high premium on its fossil fuel exports. When comparing May 2022 revenues to those in May 2021, Russia is earning almost 40 percent more on its energy exports despite recent losses, letting the efforts of the Russian energy freeze appear somewhat in vain.
Charted by Statista