No fuel imports to UK from Russia for first time

The UK imported no fuel from Russia in June for the first time on record, according to official figures.

Imports of goods from Russia also fell to £33m in June, the lowest level since records began in January 1997, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Western nations have imposed strict sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.

The UK has pledged to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year and gas imports as soon as possible.

Fuel imports from Russia fell by £499m – or 100 per cent – compared with the average for the previous 12 months to February.

In 2021, the UK imported around 4 per cent of its gas from Russia, and 11 per cent of its oil, according to the International Energy Agency.

Exports of most goods to Russia had also decreased substantially by June, with machinery and transport equipment sales slashed by 91.3 per cent to £118m.

Overall, exports to Russia dropped by almost 70 per cent, to £168m, compared with the monthly average in the 12 months to February.

The only products to see a slight rise were chemicals, driven by an increase in exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products, which are exempted from sanctions.

The ONS said that apart from government-stipulated sanctions, trade between Russia and the UK was lessened as businesses voluntarily sought alternatives to Russian goods.

The figures were released as Ukraine marked its day of independence, exactly six months since the Russian invasion began.

As a result of Russia’s invasion, the European Union (EU) has said it will cut gas imports from Russia by two-thirds within a year and has also agreed to ban all Russian oil imports which come in by sea by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the US has imposed a total ban on Russian oil and gas imports.

This data doesn’t include services, where the UK has in the past made large sums through consultants, accountants and lawyers in London advising Russian companies and wealthy individuals.

But insofar as we’re talking about imported goods, it looks like sanctions have been highly effective. -BBC

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