In the midst of a global crisis revolving around Russia, the country’s ally Cuba has already received at least $322 million worth of oil since the beginning of Russia’s war with Ukraine. The war with Ukraine started in February, and since it has sent shockwaves across the world, with many Russian-allied countries refusing to condemn the invasion of Ukraine. Since then, many sanctions have been imposed on Russia. American Military News reports:
The figure marks a significant increase compared to recent years when Cuba received $35 million worth of Russian petroleum in 2017 and $55.5 million in 2018, but nothing in the following years, according to United Nations data on world trade. And it turns the Caribbean island into another market for oil from Russia, helping the country evade international sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine while keeping its industry afloat.
“All of this is very convenient for Russia because, due to the sanctions, Russian ports are full of oil tankers,” Piñón said. “This allows them to continue to monetize the oil instead of shutting down wells, which are expensive to reopen later.”
Cuba is one of the few countries in the Western Hemisphere that has abstained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in international forums such as the U.N. The island’s state media also frequently publishes disinformation about the war, and Cuban officials have publicly echoed Russia’s talking points to justify the aggression.
Cuba is going through its worst crisis since the 1990s, and it desperately needs a cash injection. Adding to the oil shortages, the lack of maintenance and replacement of old power stations has crippled the island’s electrical grid. Blackouts were already frequent even before Hurricane Ian pushed the system to its limit, leaving the entire nation in the dark on Sept. 27.
Protests continue erupting in Cuba over its energy cuts, lack of freedom, and food shortages. The devastated country needs around 115,000 barrels of oil per day to meet its demand.