Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that trade with China, India, Brazil, and South Africa jumped 38% in the first three months of the year, despite “politically motivated sanctions.”
Trade volume with those four countries totaled $45 billion in that time, he said.
“Russian oil supplies to China and India are growing noticeably,” Putin said in a video stream to the BRICS Business Summit.
China and India have ramped up purchases of discounted Russian crude since the war in Ukraine began, while other buyers have self-sanctioned or imposed sanctions against trading with Moscow.
In May, India reportedly sought to acquire Russian oil on the cheap for about $70 a barrel, which, at the time, marked a more than 35% discount.
And India has snapped up over 40 million barrels of Russian crude since the war began, a higher amount than it imported through all of 2021.
That’s helped offset declines in trade with Europe, which is phasing in a partial oil embargo and is looking for alternatives to Russian natural gas.
At the start of the year, Russia sent roughly two-thirds of its crude to Europe, though now it is sending about half to Asia.
And while the US banned imports of Russian energy in March, the Wall Street Journal reported that barrels believed to be partially mixed with Russian crude arrived in New York and New Jersey last month. Those cargoes likely came from India, where supplies were refined and blended to obscure their origin.