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Russia made nearly $100B from fuel exports in war’s first 100 days, report says

Tankers near the Kozmino crude oil terminal, outside the port city of Nakhodka, Russia, on June 13. (Tatiana Meel/Reuters)

In the 100 days after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s revenue from exports of fossil fuels soared to 93 billion euros — about $97 billion — according to a report by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

China was the largest importer, buying more than $13 billion worth of fossil fuels during that period, followed by Germany, at around $12.6 billion, the CREA report released Monday said.

Over the first 100 days of the war in Ukraine, France was the largest importer of Russian liquefied natural gas, the Finland-based research center found, while Germany bought the most Russian pipeline gas. China imported the most oil from Russia, and Japan imported the most coal.

As Western governments sought to pressure Moscow and many countries scrambled to wean themselves off Russian energy, the volume of Russia’s fuel exports fell 15 percent in May compared with the period before the invasion. But high fuel prices caused by rising global demand have kept money flowing into Moscow’s coffers, the report said, noting that Russia’s export prices were on average 60 percent higher than last year.

And a few countries increased imports of Russian fuel during the first 100 days of the war, including France, India, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the research center said.

Average U.S. gas prices top $5 a gallon, as surging energy costs squeeze economy

France, Belgium and the Netherlands benefited from buying liquefied natural gas and crude oil on the spot market, it added. The purchases were made outside of preexisting contracts, “representing an active purchase decision,” according to the report.

France’s ecology ministry questioned the report’s methodology. It said that the country was a popular fuel import destination as it has four liquefied natural gas terminals, but that did not mean it was the final destination for the gas. In an emailed response to questions about spot-market purchases, a ministry spokeswoman said: “French authorities are determined, in close collaboration with all of their European partners, to diversify sources of supply, slash dependence [on Russian fuel] and reduce gas consumption.”

A spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Tim van Dijk, said in an emailed response that “it would be better to ask the companies which are involved as they know all the details.” Belgium’s energy ministry did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.

After weeks of negotiations, the European Union reached an agreement late last month to phase out Russian oil, but with an exception for pipeline deliveries, as a concession to Hungary. The mounting evidence of war crimes and gruesome images of bodies lying in the streets of Bucha, in Kyiv’s suburbs, spurred the 27-nation bloc to announce a phaseout of Russian coal and debate an oil embargo.

E.U. agrees to phase out Russian oil but exempts pipeline deliveries

European Council President Charles Michel said the deal to end seaborne deliveries within months would cover more than two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, cutting off “a huge source of financing” for the Russian “war machine.”

The United States banned imports of Russian oil in March. On Sunday, President Biden blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine for rising U.S. gas prices — which topped $5 per gallon on average nationally over the weekend — telling reporters that it is “outrageous what the war in Ukraine is causing.”

Still, U.S. energy affairs envoy Amos Hochstein told lawmakers last week that Russia may be making more fossil fuel revenue than before the conflict, with global price hikes counteracting the effect of Western sanctions and demand higher than expected, as coronavirus lockdowns ease around the world.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine propels already-rising inflation in much of Europe to record highs, some European officials have called for steps to mitigate the rise in food and energy costs.

Putin thinks West will blink first in war of attrition, Russian elites say

The Washington Post has reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin is digging in for a long war of attrition and seeking to use economic pressure, such as a blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, to erode Western support for Kyiv, according to members of Russia’s economic elite. The Kremlin hopes the West could lose focus in trying to counter the invasion, especially as global energy costs surge, The Post reported.

The U.S. director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, hinted at such concerns last month when she told senators that Putin is prepared for a prolonged conflict and “probably counting on U.S. and E.U. resolve to weaken as food shortages, inflation and energy shortages get worse.”

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can help support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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