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US not opposing Pakistan’s oil deal with Russia

WASHINGTON: The Biden administration has suggested that it will not reject the deal after Pakistan placed its first order for discounted Russian oil.

“Look, each country is going to make its own sovereign decisions as it relates to its energy supply,” a US State Department official told reporters in Washington on Tuesday afternoon when questioned about Pakistan’s decision.

According to Vedant Patel, the department’s main deputy spokesperson, the US kept the door open for such purchases when it imposed sanctions on Russian oil following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

“One of the reasons that the United States, through the G7, has been a big proponent of the price cap is to ensure that steps are not being taken to keep Russian energy off the market because we understand that there is a demand for supply,” Mr Patel explained.

The US has also stated in earlier briefings that Pakistan can acquire oil from Russia at a reduced price, despite the fact that it has not signed a Washington-backed price cap on Russian petroleum goods.

“However, we must also take steps to ensure that Russian energy markets do not become a windfall for [President] Putin’s war machine,” Mr Patel added.

“As a result, countries will once again make their own sovereign decisions.” “We have never attempted to keep Russian energy off the market,” he continued.

Pakistan made its first purchase for discounted Russian crude oil last week, as part of a deal agreed between Islamabad and Moscow, with one cargo scheduled to arrive in Karachi in May.

Pakistan will purchase only crude fuels, not refined fuels, under the terms of the agreement. If the initial transaction goes properly, imports are likely to reach 100,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Pakistan’s acquisition provides Russia with a fresh outlet, adding to Moscow’s increased shipments to India and China as a result of the restrictions.

Mr Patel informed Islamabad that “any assets or weaponry that were left in Afghanistan were no longer usable” in response to another query about the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) receiving weapons that the US left behind while removing its soldiers from Afghanistan.

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