Notes On Russia: Fallouts of the Ukraine Conflict
Quiet US Approval Of India Buying Russian Oil?
Despite all the noise from Washington, some senior Indian diplomats insist that New Delhi is receiving little to no American blowback for buying Russian oil. The reason is simple: India is stabilising the global oil market. Currently Delhi and Beijing are buying Russian oil at lowered prices which is then refined and sent to Europe and even the US. This then serves the dual goal of ensuring that Russian oil is technically available while depriving Russia of oil revenue. India and China also do well by buying Russian crude at low cost (which gives them huge margins) and the Americans are happy with that, said a senior diplomat adding that the world cannot survive without Russian oil. It is simply impossible.
SCO Summit In Delhi May Discuss Dollar Alternatives
Diplomats say quiet discussions are expected to be held on alternatives to the US dollar, at the upcoming SCO summit in Delhi, and in non-US plurilateral groupings. Reason: the weaponising of the US dollar against Moscow by ensuring its complete removal from the international banking system SWIFT, has alarmed nations that believe they need alternatives should a similar fate befall them. This has become easier with the growing acceptance of local or even third currencies in bilateral trade transactions. If this trend continues, regional countries can trade more confidently knowing the exchange rate will be stable and not held hostage to the fluctuating value of the US dollar. So, while the US dollar’s hegemony is unchallenged, the Ukraine war could prove to be a catalyst in the search for alternatives.
Sunak Accused Of Receiving ‘Blood Money’ From Russia
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty are once again in trouble, and it has to do with Russia and Infosys. Though the Indian IT tech giant had said it was fully pulling out of Ukraine in March, it still had an office in Moscow in last year-end. It affects the British power-couple since Sunak’s wife – daughter of Infosys founder Narayana Murty – has 0.91% stake in the company that rewards her with multimillion-pound annual dividends. The revelation of the Infosys Russia office has prompted cries of “blood money” from Ukrainian politicians. For its part, Infosys says that while it does have an office, it is working through sub-contractors in the country something that it promises it will end soon. Such statements have not relieved the pressure on Sunak as Opposition leaders have urged him to disclose whether he and his wife were and still are benefitting from Russian money while the Ukraine war continues.
Russia-Ukraine War Is Redrawing Global Shipping Map
The Russia-Ukraine war has had a major impact on an important but often overlooked sector: the global shipping industry. Diplomats say that as the Russia-Nato standoff has intensified, alternative shipping lines have emerged. During Russia’s grain blockade of Ukraine’s ports, the Arab Gulf and the US looked to Brazil which had its peak grain season. Russia’s coal blockade by Europe saw the continent turning to South Africa and Australia for coal supplies. The result has been longer stints at sea, which a senior diplomat warns will raise costs and put tankers at greater risk of accidents. India for instance is receiving its oil from Russia via ageing Russian tankers. What’s worse is that while these tankers can technically sell oil provided it is under the price cap, the current hostility means that European ports are refusing layovers or providing maintenance to Russian ships. This will not only raise the risk of accidents at sea but can have economic consequences. As the IMF pointed out in a recent study “rising shipping costs are an important driver of inflation around the world: when freight rates double, inflation picks up by about 0.7 percentage points.”