Analysis of the News “The EU gives up Russian oil, America imports more and more”

April 2022

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

The EU gives up Russian oil, America imports more and more

This news was on the front page of the daily newspaper Politika, and it is particularly problematic that the very title of a non-tabloid media contains inaccurate information. The subtitle elaborates the topic and states that “Brussels is becoming a victim of Washington’s interests and that the USA buys energy products from Russia at a lower price and resells them to customers in Europe along with their own gas”. Namely, the news was published on April 6 and, as both the title and subtitle point out, it talks about how the United States of America (USA) unhinderedly buys energy from Russia and continues to resell it. However, a month earlier, on March 8, the official website of the White House announced the news that US President Joe Biden will sign an executive order banning the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal.

The news portrays Europe as a victim of American selfish interests and rivalry with Russia, and the dominant tone is that the European Union, forced and under pressure from Washington and London, is brought to the fait accompli when it comes to sanctions against the Russian Federation, while the currencies of the dollar and the pound are strengthening at the expense of the euro. What is omitted is the fact that the European Union consists of sovereign countries whose representatives vote in the EU Council based on the interests of their country, and for the introduction of restrictive measures it is necessary that all member states vote for it, i.e. such a decision is made exclusively unanimously.

“It is expected that the EU may have to impose new sanctions against Russia. This will slowdown economic recovery in that part of the world and at the same time cause a flood of investment in the US dollar… Meanwhile, in the wake of the latest political pressure from Washington and London on the EU to impose the next round of sanctions against Moscow (including a complete suspension of natural gas supplies), the British pound strengthened against the Eurozone currency yesterday.”

The whole story refers to and quotes Chinese and Russian sources. So it states that “the stumbling of the euro and the fierce surge of inflation in the Eurozone for the fifth month in a row is closely followed by observers in China” while “less restrained than the official Beijing, researchers from the East China University in Shanghai warn that the EU is likely a victim of the overpowering of the USA and Russia in the case of ‘Ukraine’.” Further, the author of the news cites a research associate at the Center for Russian Studies of the University of Shanghai and his statement for the pro-government Chinese daily newspaper Global Times “The US has a need to ideologically confront Russia, and therefore Washington encourages its allies to sanction Moscow. At the same time, the USA buys energy products from Russia at a lower price and, along with its gas, resells them to customers in Europe at a higher price, all in the interest of American oil companies. In the end, Europe becomes the victim. European money is flowing to America (from where they now obtain considerable quantities of liquefied gas) helping the consolidation of the dollar at the expense of the euro”.

Furthermore, the Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Mikhail Popov, is quoted saying that “Us crude oil imports from Russia increased by 43 percent last week, up to 100,000 barrels per day, with an additional increase in procurement of oil derivatives (fuel oil, petrol…). At the same time, Washington allowed the export of fertilizers from Russia to the American market”.

As we previously indicated, according to the announcement of the White House declaring the ban on imports and investments in Russia’s energy sector, the US imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia in the past year. However, a complete ban on the import of Russian crude oil and certain oil derivatives, liquefied natural gas and coal into the USA was announced, and investments in the energy sector of Russia and financing of foreign companies involved in this sector in Russia are also prohibited. It is also stated that this decision was made in consultation with allies without any pressure, noting that some of the partner states are not yet able to comply with such provisions, the US will work together with its allies to reduce their collective dependence on Russian energy. “The Administration has already committed to releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this fiscal year, with an emergency sale of 30 million barrels… After intensive around-the-clock coordination and consultation by President Biden, the International Energy Agency (IEA) Member countries agreed to a collective release of an initial 60 million barrels of crude oil from our strategic petroleum reserves, with the United States committing half of that in the emergency sale,” it is stated in this announcement.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević