White House cautions India against Russian oil deal: ‘Think about where you want to stand’

Jen Psaki warns that such a move would put the world’s largest democracy on the wrong side of history

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Wednesday 16 March 2022 05:36 GMT
Psaki reacts to reports Fox News journalist injured in Ukraine

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said India would not be violating US sanctions by purchasing discounted Russian oil but warned that such a move would put the world’s largest democracy on the wrong side of history.

On Monday, Reuters reported that India’s largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp, purchased 3 million barrels of Russian crude oil, the first such transaction since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

Indian officials have also told Reuters that Delhi may take up a Russian offer of oil and other commodities at a discount.

Asked about the reports at her daily White House press briefing on Tuesday, Ms Psaki said the Biden’s administration’s message would be for countries to abide by US sanctions.

“I don't believe this would be violating that, but also think about where you want to stand,” she said. “When the history books are written in this moment in time, support for Russia – the Russian leadership – is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact”.

Ms Psaki said the the sanctions levied against Russia by the US and American allies have already imposed “unprecedented costs” on Moscow by reversing three decades of progress made since the fall of the Soviet Union in less than a month.

“Our actions have hit hard at the things President Putin cares about the most – degrading his military access to cutting edge technology and ability to project power and influence,” she said.

Russia’s oil and gas sectors have taken a particularly significant hit since the imposition of sanctions last month.

Several major western oil producers, including BP, ExxonMobile and Shell, have all pulled out of partnerships with Russia’s state oil and gas companies.

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