The UK Department for Transport said on Wednesday that oil and gas from Russia could still be imported into Britain despite Russian ships being banned from entering British ports.
On Tuesday, Britain passed a law prohibiting access to its ports for all ships having any connection to Russia, following the Russian offensive in the Ukraine. The ban applies to all Russian-owned, operated, controlled, chartered, registered, or flagged vessels.
However, the Department for Transport has since clarified that these new regulations target only vessels, and not their cargo. Moreover, the sanctions won’t block ships registered in other countries from transporting oil or natural gas from Russia.
According to the British i newspaper, the UK relies on Russia for around 4% of its gas supplies and a larger proportion of its oil. MPs are currently actively seeking alternative sources. The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Beis) is conducting talks with UK companies on excluding Russian oil and gas from Britain’s energy networks.
“We are continually seeking to increase our renewable energy and nuclear energy, and we know that Beis is looking at further boosting supply from outside Russia so we can remove any remaining dependence on Russian gas,” Downing Street announced, as cited by i.
Russia launched a large-scale military offensive in Ukraine last week, proclaiming the need to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the country. Moscow claimed the assault on its neighbor was the only option left to prevent Kiev from launching an all-out assault on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Ukraine has rejected such allegations, insisting it had not planned to retake the two regions by force, and the invasion was unprovoked.
The attack was met with outrage by the international community, with the US, the European Union, and their allies across the globe imposing unprecedented economic sanctions against Russia and its officials in retaliation. On Tuesday, the UN adopted a resolution condemning the offensive and demanding Russia withdraw its military forces immediately.