Afflicted by Western Sanctions, Russia Offers India Large Oil Discounts: Report

Reacting to this, the United States criticised India for attempting to undermine western sanctions.

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Russia is offering huge discounts to India on its oil amid mounting sanctions from West, a Bloomberg report said citing sources, adding that Moscow is reportedly providing its flagship Urals grade oil to India at discounts of as much as $35 a barrel on prices before the war.

India is also considering a proposal to make rupee-ruble-denominated payments after the US and the European Union (EU) cut Moscow off from the SWIFT payments system, Bloomberg reported.

The proposal involves payments via Moscow's SPFS system. While no final decision has been taken in this regard by India, reports suggest that Russian officials will visit New Delhi next week to discuss the proposition.

US, Australia Decry Russia Proposal

Reacting to this, the United States on Wednesday, 30 March criticised India for attempting to undermine western sanctions by considering the trade proposal.

"Now is the time to stand on the right side of history, and to stand with the United States and dozens of other countries, standing up for freedom, democracy and sovereignty with the Ukrainian people, and not funding and fueling and aiding President Putin's war," US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said at a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday, as per a report by Bloomberg.

Raimondo also said that the proposal between India and Russia was "deeply disappointing", but added that she was not aware of the details.

'Democracies Should Work Together': Australia

Australia's trade minister Dan Tehan also spoke at the briefing and emphasised that it was important for democratic countries to work in consonance "to keep the rules-based approach that we have had since the Second World War".

These statements signal a rift between the Quad partners (India, the US, Australia and Japan) amid the ongoing global conflict. India is the only member of the grouping that has not condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

While India has called for the opening of diplomatic channels and cessation of violence in Ukraine, it has abstained from voting on five resolutions condemning Russia at the United Nations. New Delhi is also the world's leading buyer of weapons from Moscow.

(With inputs from Bloomberg.)

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