North African countries shun western sanctions on Russian oil products – WSJ

North African countries shun western sanctions on Russian oil products – WSJ

Russia has found alternative markets to the European space as North African countries now line up for purchases of the Russian oil products despite western sanctions, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has revealed.

The US media outlet in a report notes that Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia have stepped forward to become voracious buyers of its diesel and other refined oil products.

The rise in trade has offered a lifeline of sorts for Moscow, the media says adding that it provides a healthy new revenue stream, but also raised concerns about whether it is undermining Western efforts to remove Russian fossil fuels from their economies.

Russia, on February 24, 2022, launched an offensive that it branded “special operation” into neighboring Ukraine. The move was quickly condemned by dozens of countries especially western countries.

The western bloc slapped sets of sanctions on Russian economic sectors including oil products industry, banking system.

Despite the sanctions, Russia’s economy has not tanked as Moscow turned to other markets.

Morocco, Wall Street Journal notes, has seen its imports of Russian diesel tripled in less than two years. The North African country reportedly imported 600,000 barrels in 2021 but data show that the imports increased to 2 million in January this year.

Additional data also indicated that the kingdom purchased a total of 3.1 million of barrels in February only.

Tunisia, a country which did not have any import of Russian fossil fuel, purchased 2.8 million barrels of the Russian oil products in January this year. The figure upped in February to reach 3.1 million barrels.

Algeria and Egypt, both traditional trade partners of Russia, have also increased their imports of Russian oil products.

The WSJ argues that the imports could likely be mixed with national productions for re-export towards some European countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia.

Washington has not reacted to the report yet but the media adds that purchases are done through normal and vetted channels.

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