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India buying discounted Russian oil does not violate US Sanctions, says White House

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Washington: The White House said India taking up Russia’s offer of discounted crude oil would not be a violation of US sanctions, but appealing to all countries amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said ‘think about where you want to stand’.

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“But also think about where you want to stand when history books are written at this moment in time. Support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact,” Psaki said after she was asked about a report on the possibility that India could take up the Russian offer of discounted crude oil. “Our message to any country would be abide by the sanctions,” she said.

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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak reportedly told Indian Petroleum minister Hardeep Puri in a phone call that the country is keen to increase its oil and petroleum product exports to India along with Indian investments in the Russian oil sector, according to a statement issued by Moscow.

India has not supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine. New Delhi has consistently asked all stakeholders to resolve differences through dialogue. It has, however, abstained in all United Nations resolutions against Russia.

Officials of the Biden administration have shown an understanding of India’s position and have told lawmakers that New Delhi has a major dependence on Russian military supplies for its national security.

However, Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera expressed disappointment over reports that India is contemplating buying Russian oil at a steeply discounted rate.

“If reports are accurate and India makes this decision to buy Russian oil at a discounted price, New Delhi would be choosing to side with Vladimir Putin at a pivotal moment in history when countries across the world are united in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s deadly invasion,” he said.

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“As the world’s largest democracy and as a leader of the Quad, India has a responsibility to ensure its actions do not directly or indirectly support Putin and his invasion,” Mr Bera said in a statement.

Commenting on the war situation, Jen Psaki said China’s actions are being watched and if they violate US sanctions, there will be consequences, if China violates those sanctions. “The decisions that China makes are going to be watched by the world. But in terms of any potential impacts or consequences, we will leave those to private diplomatic channels at this point,” Psaki said.

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