CNN’s Attempt To Smear India For Purchasing Russian Oil Fell Flat

The Ukrainian Conflict is being decided on the battlefield, not on bank ledgers, which is why CNN’s innuendo about India financially fueling Russia’s participation in its proxy war with NATO in Ukraine falls flat. That country’s domestic military-industrial complex is responsible for its battlefield successes, not the foreign profits that it reaped from oil sales to India.

CNN published a report earlier in the week about how “The Kremlin has never been richer – thanks to a US strategic partner”, which argues that a significant share of Russia’s “unprecedented amount of cash in government coffers” nowadays is due to India’s purchase of its oil. Delhi scaled up consumption by a whopping thirteen times over the past two years to total of $37 billion worth in 2023. The innuendo is that India is financially fueling Russia’s participation in its proxy war with NATO in Ukraine.

To their credit, that outlet also informed readers near the beginning of their piece that “Russian crude sales to India are not subject to sanctions and are entirely legitimate”, but then they tried to add a dramatic flair by claiming that it “might involve the so-called ‘shadow fleet’ of crude tankers”.  Speculation about how $1 billion worth of Indian-refined Russian oil products might have eventually made their way to the US serves the purpose of making this otherwise boring trade newsworthy.

The reason why CNN published this report on the front page of their international edition was to smear India for purchasing Russian oil after its External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar defended this while speaking at an event with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They noted that the details therein were exclusively shared with them by an energy think tank that previously published on this subject, thus suggesting that they prepared for this some time ago to have time to analyze it all.

The timing wasn’t coincidental though since it was predictable that EAM Jaishankar would be asked about this during last weekend’s Munich Security Conference seeing as how journalists regularly probe him to see if his views have change as the NATO-Russian proxy war in Ukraine has dragged on. They haven’t, and he made it very clear in the abovementioned hyperlinked analysis of his remarks that it’s in India’s objective national interests to continue purchasing discounted Russian oil.

A representative of India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry added more details to their country’s strategic calculations when speaking before a department-related parliamentary standing committee in late December. They explained that the price per barrel would have surged to $120-130 due to reduced OPEC output and increased European demand following the bloc’s decoupling from Russian energy. In that scenario, a polycrisis would have unfolded, and the whole world would have been destabilized.

Global South states, already heavily indebted as it was even before the pandemic and subsequent proxy war exacerbated these economic-financial challenges, would have struggled to meet their minimum energy needs. Political crises could have quickly taken on serious security dimensions and spread throughout their respective regions, thus plunging the entire developing world into pandemonium. All of this was averted by India scaling up its import of Russian oil and therefore stabilizing the energy market.

Although CNN touched upon India’s defense of these imports by quoting its Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas who said last week that prices would have reached $150 per barrel when they not done what they did, they didn’t make any reference to how this helped the Global South make ends meet. The only attempted analysis within the piece concerns their innuendo that India is financially fueling Russia’s participation in its proxy war with NATO in Ukraine, thus exposing CNN’s intent to smear that country.

Their effort fell flat, however, since the European Council on Foreign Relations published the results of their poll last month shortly thereafter proving that only 10% of Europeans in the 12 countries that they surveyed believe that Ukraine can beat Russia while double that at 20% think that Russia will win. By contrast, 37% believe that those two will reach a political compromise after some time, while the remainder either expect a different outcome, don’t know what will happen, or simply don’t care.

What this shows is that Europeans’ opinion towards India likely won’t change in light of CNN’s report since only a fraction of the people polled across the continent think that Ukraine will win anyhow. India’s role in serving as a valve from Western sanctions pressure on Russia certainly helped that country, but it wasn’t the reason why the West failed to strategically defeat it in Ukraine. Much more important by far is Moscow’s victory in the “race of logistics” with NATO, which doomed Kiev’s counteroffensive.

That in turn set into motion the sequence of events that recently culminated in Russia’s capture of Avdeeva and the West’s accelerated construction of “Fortress Europe” in response. Whatever “unprecedented amount of cash” that the Kremlin has in its possession is meaningless without the military strength to hold the Line of Contact and gradually push it westward. The same goes for the West’s cumulatively much larger funds that failed to decisively push it eastward last year.

The Ukrainian Conflict is being decided on the battlefield, not on bank ledgers, which is why CNN’s innuendo about India financially fueling Russia’s participation in its proxy war with NATO in Ukraine falls flat. That country’s domestic military-industrial complex is responsible for its battlefield successes, not the foreign profits that it reaped from oil sales to India. The impact of India’s Russian oil purchases was only felt on the energy market and in the Global South, not in the Eastern European trenches.

About Stu Turley 3277 Articles
Stuart Turley is President and CEO of Sandstone Group, a top energy data, and finance consultancy working with companies all throughout the energy value chain. Sandstone helps both small and large-cap energy companies to develop customized applications and manage data workflows/integration throughout the entire business. With experience implementing enterprise networks, supercomputers, and cellular tower solutions, Sandstone has become a trusted source and advisor.   He is also the Executive Publisher of www.energynewsbeat.com, the best source for 24/7 energy news coverage, and is the Co-Host of the energy news video and Podcast Energy News Beat. Energy should be used to elevate humanity out of poverty. Let's use all forms of energy with the least impact on the environment while being sustainable without printing money. Stu is also a co-host on the 3 Podcasters Walk into A Bar podcast with David Blackmon, and Rey Trevino. Stuart is guided by over 30 years of business management experience, having successfully built and help sell multiple small and medium businesses while consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He holds a B.A in Business Administration from Oklahoma State and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.