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Turkey Suspected of Funnelling Russian Oil to Europe Despite Sanctions

A new report by Politico, citing research from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air and the Center for Democracy Studies, suggests Turkey is using a loophole in EU sanctions to facilitate the continued flow of Russian oil into Europe.

According to the investigation, since February 2023, when the EU banned imports of Russian fuel, Turkey has significantly increased its purchases of Russian oil by 105% compared to the previous year. Coincidentally, Turkish fuel exports to the EU have also skyrocketed by 107% during the same period.

Experts believe this surge suggests Turkey is rebranding Russian oil as its own before sending it on to the EU. This tactic leverages a loophole in the sanctions that allows for the import of “mixed” fuel, as long as it’s not explicitly labeled as Russian. The report alleges Turkey is changing the “certificate of origin” for the oil shipments, effectively masking their Russian source.

This would allow Russia to continue profiting from oil sales despite the sanctions. Politico estimates Russia has earned €3 billion from this scheme since February 2023.

The recent disclosures are fueling calls for action as EU member states deliberate on the bloc’s 14th sanctions package against Russia.

“We must tighten our clamps and find ways to prevent the circumvention of sanctions,” Estonia’s Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said. “Third countries, especially our NATO allies [like Turkey], should align with our sanctions as much as possible.”

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