Moscow - China’s independent refiners have been discreetly buying Russian oil at steep discounts at a time when Western states are trying to suspend their own purchases and mulling embargoes over Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, The Financial Times reported.
The report said that an official at an independent refinery based in Shandong in eastern China said the refinery has not publicly reported deals with Russian oil suppliers since the start of Moscow's operation in Ukraine to avoid US sanctions.
According to the official, state-owned commodity trading firms gave the refinery some of the purchase quota for Russian crude oil. State trading companies have mostly declined to sign new supply contracts.
The newspaper said it was the way for some importers to bypass traditional routes to access cheap Russian oil and made it possible for Beijing to maintain a low profile amid the West's policy to roll out more and more anti-Russian sanctions.
Western countries announced a series of new sanctions against Russia over Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine, and Europe has begun to voice statements about the need to reduce dependence on Russian energy resources more intensively.
The course to reject oil and gas supplies from Russia is actively supported by the United States, which calls on alternative producers to increase their production.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the policy of containment and weakening of Russia is a long-term strategy of the West, and the sanctions dealt a serious blow to the entire world economy.
According to Putin, the West's main goal is to worsen the lives of millions of people. He said the US and EU had effectively defaulted on their obligations to Russia, freezing its foreign exchange reserves.
He also said current events draw a line under the global dominance of the West in both politics and economics.