Less than two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. banned the import of Russian fossil fuels like oil and natural gas—a major source of funding for the war. But as the war drags on, some Russian oil is still making it to the United States, according to a new report that tracks the flow of fossil fuels from Russia.
The loophole could be closed by making refineries that take Russian cargo ineligible to sell to the U.S. “That would have an impact,” Myllyvirta says. “That would face every one of those refiners with a choice…it’s a business decision to take whether you keep taking on Russian cargo even if that makes it unacceptable for you to ship to the U.S. market.”
In the European Union, most Russian oil imports will be banned by the end of the year. Lithunia, Finland, and Estonia have already cut their imports from Russia by more than half. While Russia has other customers, the EU could potentially impact some of them as well, because oil delivered to India and the Middle East travels on tankers from European countries. A sanction on those ships could make deliveries drop. More sanctions recently introduced from the insurance industry make it harder to insure shipments from Russia, which could impact other buyers like China.