China and India's Energy Demands Helped Russia's Economy, Al Jazeera

China and India's Energy Demands Helped Russia's Economy, Al Jazeera

China and India have helped to sustain the Russian economy with growing demand for energy imports, despite Western-led sanctions, Al Jazeera reports.

Asia’s biggest economies haven’t yet condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As Western countries restricted imports and imposed sanctions, China and India became the largest buyers of Russian crude oil.

Instead of the forecasted 12 percent, Russia’s economy only shrank by 2.1 percent in 2022.

Chinese customs data shows that China's imports of Russian crude oil increased by eight percent in 2022, reaching 1.72 million barrels per day, which makes Russia China's second-largest supplier.

According to Kpler, a commodities market analysis firm, China is expected to import approximately 5.62 million barrels in February, surpassing the previous record high.

Meanwhile, India imported a record-breaking 1.4 million barrels in January, representing a nine percent increase from December.

India's imports of thermal coal climbed by almost 15 percent in 2022, reaching 161.18 million tons, Al Jazeera reported.

In the face of high inflation and an election year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has strengthened security ties with the West while maintaining a close relationship with Russia, finds it challenging to disregard the appeal of low-priced imports from Russia, according to analysts.

The European Union began imposing sanctions on Russian oil last year, leading up to a ban on seaborne crude oil exports in December.

The EU, the G7, and Australia decided to set a price cap of $60 per barrel on Russian crude oil, which is $20-30 lower than its competitors, subject to adjustments every two months based on price fluctuations.

Experts told Al Jazeera that both China and India are expected to further increase demand for Russian energy in 2023.