Putin outsmarts EU as oil still being delivered via backdoor route: 'Nothing we can do'

Former Putin advisor slams Europe for using Russian oil

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A CB Caribbean tanker carrying Russian oil docked in an Amsterdam port on Monday. This is despite the Russian oil tanker Sunny Liger getting refused entry to the same port the day before. But Russia appears to have managed to outsmart the EU’s rule by removing its national flag. Amsterdam port employees appeared to join Swedish port employees who had also made the same move.

While the port employees at Amsterdam would have liked to turn back the CB oil tanker too, the loophole in the EU sanction rule reportedly meant there was nothing they could do.

Asmae Hajjari of the port workers union FNV Havens, told NOS: “More ships are arriving at Dutch ports and carrying Russian oil, but as long as they are not covered by sanctions, there is little we can do.”

While EU sanctions do stop Russian tankers which wave the flag from docking in Europe, the bloc is still yet to embargo oil.

EU Commissioners are meeting today to vote on an oil embargo put forward by President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of a sixth sanction package on Russia.

The plan is to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year.

Putin

Putin has found away to outmanoeuvre EU sanctions (Image: Getty )

Russian oil tanker

Russian oil tankers are supposed to be banned from docking in Europe (Image: Getty )

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in early April that “since the start of the war, we’ve given [Russian president Vladimir Putin] €35billion (£29billion) compared to the €1billion (£840million) we’ve given Ukraine to arm itself”.

Last year, the EU imported a staggering €48.5billion (£38billion) of crude oil in 2021, and €22.5billion (£19billion) of petroleum oils other than crude.

It still relies on Russia for 26 percent of its oil imports.

It is lagging behind its Western counterparts in committing to ban the fossil fuel.

READ MORE: EU in turmoil as Orban backs Putin with veto on energy ban

Von der leyen

Ms von der Leyen has proposed sanctioning oil in the EU’s sixth package (Image: Getty )

A US embargo is in place, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed to topping imports of Russian oil by the end of 2022.

Last month, Russian ships carrying oil, the Aframax tanker PEGAS and VF TANKER 2, were detained at Karystos Bay in the Petalioi Gulk in Greece for violating EU sanctions.

PEGAS is understood to have been towed to Karystos after suffering mechanical failure, while VF TANKER 2 was heading to the Black Sea but sailed through Karystos Bay for an unknown reason.

Worryingly, there have been reports that Russian tankers are disappearing from tracking systems to avoid sanctions.

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EU imports

The EU still hands Russia billions for oil (Image: Express)

Boris

Mr Johnson has pledged to phase out Russian oil by the end of the year (Image: Getty )

In what is known as “dark activity”, ships can turn their transponders to go off the grid.

Windward, a private intelligence company told CNN that dark activity among Russian-affiliated crude oil tankers has soared 600 percent since the start of the Ukraine war.

Windward CEO Ami Daniel said: “We’re seeing a spike in Russian tankers turning off transmissions deliberately to circumvent sanctions.

“The Russian fleet is starting to hide its whereabouts and its exports.”

William Murphy

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